Monero and Kovri
From crypto-currency to simple message exchange, we rely on hardened privacy systems to guarantee that our transactions are anonymous and secure.
As Monero is a leader in both privacy-aware currency and community, the logical response to Monero's anonymity question is to implement a decentralized, anonymous internet.
The solution? Kovri.
The Kovri I2P Router Project aims to integrate I2P technology into Monero to ensure that every transaction and communication meets the highest standards of anonymity possible.
The Importance of Kovri
I cannot reiterate enough the importance of Kovri as both an implementation of a viable anonymous network and as an alternative to Tor.
Tor has an annual multi-million USD budget with a multi-million number user-base. Tor is well-researched and continues to garner massive media attention. While I love Tor tremendously and will defend her with tooth and nail, at this time of writing there are two issues that concern me the most with regard to the Tor project:
- With new management, the current state of the project is in questionable flux: core volunteers who have been with the project since its very early years are uprooting and leaving, there are publicly known conflicts within the organization, there are many rumors (both founded and unfounded) about U.S. government infiltration
- Tor's Achilles's heel: authorities, consensus, and flow-based onion-routing (as current implemented in Tor): they are not truly decentralized
While the issues in point 1 may be temporary or purely tin-hat, it's unfair to both the project and the entire planet to have a majority of the world's anonymity-needs resting on the shoulders of a single project; not to mention, the mere idea is very dangerous.
The issues inherent in point 2 are not easily addressed nor may they ever be addressed. Attempting to decentralize Tor by removing Directory Authorities and other technical aspects of current Tor design would be like genetically modifying an apple to become an orange after the apple has been fully formed. As interesting as that may be, why do such a thing when one can simply eat a natural-born orange?
How Kovri will improve the I2P experience
The Java implementation of I2P is the known worldwide. It is the original implementation and standard of which all other Garlic Routing implementations have followed and continue to follow.
Over the years, there have been several notable complaints about the java I2P project with the biggest being: it's in java, and it's not easily usable.
Kovri aims to address these issues by implementing I2P entirely in C++ and, in addition to providing extensive & easy-to-understand documentation, implementing user-friendly interfaces.
While it's too soon to discuss details of GUI integration, Kovri will have an easy-to-use interface integrated with Monero's GUI in addition to being a stand-alone I2P router (so you don't need Monero to use it). This will be all-around useful to both I2P and Monero as it will increase XMR transaction obfuscation while strengthening the I2P network.
How Kovri will increase Monero's market value
It's simple: more users, more trust, more value.
Kovri + RingCT technology will guarantee confidence with every transaction; ensuring that they stay private and anonymous. By integrating Kovri by default, every user will benefit from an the extra layer of I2P anonymity.
In the future, after a beta release, we plan on having Kovri 'on' by default. Until then, Kovri will be optional (though you can use the stand-alone router now).
Why I should be funded for this project
I've been with the project since before the beginning and, with the help of key contributors, led the project to its birth. I'm proud and fortunate enough to say that one year ago (soon before Kovri was born), I had told fluffypony that I would here "for the long haul" - and here I am today. I have spent all my free time over the past year on Kovri and have lost much sleep as a result - all without asking for any donations or payments in return (though I do appreciate the donations that I have received).
I've gained relationships within the Monero community and a wealth of knowledge that comes with developing an I2P implementation in C++; so there has been that reward, but I'm currently at the point where I won't be able to meaningfully contribute to Kovri unless I start to receive full-time (or at least part-time) funding.
Funding will allow me to continue to lead the project and to do what I've been doing - but much more of it.
The current state of Kovri is not in the same state as Monero. Kovri needs a lot of work in order to be brought into beta and an eventual stable release. I2P specifications do not cover every aspect I2P or implementation and the documentation itself could be rewritten in key areas to better aid developers. Since Kovri was originally forked from i2pd, much of the present code-base was poorly designed and poorly written; so this makes development more difficult than it should be (we've been able to fix many of the issues but many still remain (see the issues tracker)).
In addition to resolving bugs and missing implementation, funding will allow me to:
- Code, code, code!
- We have many issues that need to be fixed
- We have many features that need to be implemented
- I repeat: Kovri is not in the same place as Monero was when Monero was first born
- Guarantee Kovri/Monero integration
- Integration with monerod
- Integration with GUI
- Building/releasing on same platforms as Monero
- Project management
- Ensuring that we set and meet release deadlines
- Preparing and leading bi-weekly meetings
- Implementing Quality Assurance
- Address the massive amount of technical details that come with implementing I2P
- Research improving I2P and overlay-network security
- Crypto research/implementation
- Creating/improving documentation
- Contributing to existing proposals
- Opening new proposals
...and much, much more.
To gain a sense of how development has functioned, you can:
- 5 XMR/hour
- 1449 hours / 30 hours per week
- 16 milestones every 90 hours
- Total cost: 7245 XMR
The amounts posted here are motivated by current market volatility but will guarantee another year's work on the project. To work on Kovri full-time is a gamble but, like everyone else here, I believe in Monero and believe that Kovri will have a positive impact on Monero's value.
Securing Monero's future
If Kovri doesn't get more attention and development, Kovri will be Monero's weakest link. We cannot let that happen. 30 hours is not enough to make this happen, so I will have to volunteer more than that in order to meet our goals (12 hour Kovri days are not unheard of). I must reiterate that even if full-time, we need more developers in order to fullfill Kovri's vision.
Funding will also allow me to reach out to other developers, continue to aid in upstream library development/bug fixes when needed, and become more engaged with EinMByte (an experienced, invaluable core contributor), zzz (lead dev for java I2P), and the I2P community at large in order to make Kovri happen.
Everyone is welcome to visit #kovri and #kovri-dev and ask as many questions as you'd like. I'll do my best to respond quickly and informatively.