Indra - Using Lightning and Onion Routing to protect Bitcoin and Lightning user locations and their relation to each other

Tor is failing us, and there is currently no alternative:

Tor isn't Scaling, but Bitcoin Needs Onion Routing

For comparison, this is Bitcoin's node count:


Versus Tor in a comparable period:

tor relay count

My entry to the world of Bitcoin

As a relatively early adopter of Bitcoin, discovering it via the Dark Web markets, my finst instinct about all of this was that Tor would not sufficiently protect people's privacy in the long run. Something I had already observed, along with others, back in 2006, before Bitcoin even existed.

My qualifications at building software

I developed my skills in Go programming through work with a shitcoin and most recently scored a grant from Geyser and a sponsor. I am working on the specification still, but starting to poke at the implementation.

White paper

This is the location of the current version of the Indra whitepaper.

Work is only just finally beginning, but as the progenitor and lead developer, it is now a full time job for me. I'm not particularly asking for much in the way of extra funding, I choose my physical residence based on relative cost and a sub-minimum-wage for western europe is adequate to survive where I live in the Balkans.

What Indra will enable

As you will see if you read the whitepaper, Indra will not just help you prevent governments from determining your location as a Bitcoin whale, but it will also aim to solve other problems that are more relevant to the places where Medium of Exchange adoption are starting to happen.

Mobile devices with full custodial wallets doing QR code based transactions on Lightning, via providing Bitcoin and Lightning network access and transaction propagation, and in-band payments for internet access, with a discount for in-onion-network routing for private communication.

What we need

Funding, obviously, is a big thing. But we also need people. Right now, we could do with some help with marketing - that is, graphic designers and web designers, and programmers, especially Go programmers, who are interested in joining the project.

Contact is welcome via our github and via my [twitter](].

Looking forward to hearing from anyone about this.

Been lurking a while but didn't think of a reason to post yet.

110 sats \ 0 replies \ @ln123 18 Sep

Thankyou, for working on this!

Keen to know when a prototype is ready, be happy to test it.

Very intriguing. I have a couple of questions that I am curious about.

  1. Is this an additional network that lives alongside LN, but not on LN? IE, LN is just the payment layer, and upon confirmation of the payment, the Indra routers will route your requests?
  2. If so, the LN-like components such as BOLT4 pieces you mention, are they their own adaptations that are taking the nice onion routing components of LN but are not themselves anything to do with LN anymore than they are similar tech?
  3. If not, are you doing anything with the TLV's of the LN payments themselves? Will it be compatible with the greater Lightning Network?

There's a few properties you describe such as pre-payments, payment tokens, rendezvous, anonymous replies, etc. that have similar concepts in the LN world and are being worked on. Are you re-implementing your own if it is its own network or are you going to reuse those when they come out?

LN currently does not have enough privacy properties as it is to be used in this manner yet, so I wonder if this is future looking that is TBD on LN development or if it's just too early for something like this to securely take place.

I won't get into the moral debates about "omg the internet should not be re-implemented on an monetarily incentivized network such as LN" just because some people don't know how to price data and networking accurately, but I'm curious if that's what is going on here?

Yeah, it may seem a little confusing, but no, it's essentially a way to provide income to cover running costs for running routers that obscure location data, like Tor, but paid.

It uses a similar protocol as BOLT#4 because it is source routed, using ECDH for secure ad hoc session encryption. Sessions are purchased and then can be used for any hop in a path, due to the source routing, meaning it is possible to vary the layering of the onions and change the paths even one message cycle to the next.

But once you have a number of sessions open you can then plot arbitrary paths through the network. And the idea is that both Bitcoin full nodes and Lightning nodes can use this to establish connections inside the network that obscure location information. Just as many banking services use off-net dialup/digital phone lines to prevent surveillance of their payment traffic, it makes sense that Lightning, being like interbank payment networks, should also have countermeasures against surveillance by potential adversaries.

Regarding the "payment layer monetary incentivised" the pricing system is just based on covering costs and a small margin of profit. The client will have parameters to load in your costs and set your margin, and clients will also set their target price point as well as be presented with a breakdown of the fee market. In actual fact, it could help create a harmonisation of bandwidth costs by providing the lower price routers greater profit opportunity and a monetary motivation for the better value services to scale up or competitors to improve their margins and offer lower prices for router services.

It is just a way to provide a service like the Tor and I2P networks but in a way that makes it economic to provide service and options for expanding the service. It will also disrupt mobile service providers, who may ultimately have to adopt an open access, in band lightning payments for access, and prod the industry towards full location security instead of the current situation where NSA et al can discover timing and endpoints of traffic and through this violate privacy and crack down on liberty activism whether it is about fixing the money or distributing information that allows prosecution of criminal activities in government.

131 sats \ 0 replies \ @Lux 19 Sep

I think this is what you are looking for, godspeed

This is very welcomed and interesting ! Nice to see that somebody is taking position on this aspect that happen lately with BTC nodes and Tor.

Well, I have limited funding to work. Looking to find a little more, everything is cool, manageable, but it's a very slim margin. Any tips on how to find someone who wants to join/fund this effort very welcome.

My twitter, again: twitter

and wth here's my email