[tor-dev] [tor-relays] Hidden service policies

Mike Hearn mike at plan99.net
Mon Jul 21 10:12:37 UTC 2014

> > As I recall, you are also the person who raised the idea of coin
> > tinting or a similar concept in the bitcoin community to identify
> > "suspect" coins and that backfired spectacularly on you.
> Yes, that is the person. Though the term is known as 'taint'. One of
> many discussions from that suggestion is here:
> https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=333824.0

I don't agree that it backfired. Yes, some people didn't like such
discussions at all. Other people did though (I got a lot of fan mail for
starting that discussion). If you think there's some kind of iron-clad
consensus on these topics you need to leave your mailing lists and go talk
to the general public, or heck, just try counting the number of services
that are blocking Tor because of how it's being abused.

Historically the crypto community has pursued absolute unbreakability and
absolute privacy at all costs, including mainstream acceptability. This
rendered its mathematical capabilities irrelevant. When Snowden wanted to
talk to Greenwald using PGP he couldn't do it because PGP sucks so badly.
The failure doesn't get more epic than that.

The rare crypto products that are both strong and usable end up in an
under-explored area:  how tolerant is society of the resultant abuse? Tor
is finding out the hard way that you don't need government coercion to end
up widely shunned. Even the developers own IRC network is now blocking Tor.
Gregory Maxwell has described Tor as heading towards a read only web, and
he's not wrong. This inherently limits its mainstream appeal and weakens
the "anonymity loves company" principle it relies on for protection.

If we're going to make crypto both strong and mainstream, then the
community needs to start thinking through the consequences of that for
society at large.

> Normally I would thank exits for passing BTC traffic, but now I'm unsure
> of this one (and a few others), especially given that's the only exit
> policy
> of the above node. To identify anon (Tor) coins for marking and tracking?

I allow only Bitcoin exit traffic because I have no desire to get raided
because someone abused my exit. Currently regular Tor doesn't really exit
any traffic through that node because it speculatively builds circuits to
exits on the assumption they'll be used for web browsing, but we're in the
process of integrating Orchid into bitcoinj (actually it's done but Orchid
has a few bugs). So at some point Bitcoin wallets will start using Tor and
they will know to build circuits to any exit that can support 8333.
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