The Swiss blockchain startup, Nym Technologies, invited the general public to participate in the next phase of user tests of its mixnet platform on April 8.
The privacy infrastructure promises advanced protection against mass surveillance and comes at a time when governments are expanding their powers globally in the name of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The right mixer
Users are initially asked to run mixing nodes on the Nym testnet. A global network of mixing nodes will form the mixnet, which acts irreversibly to mask patterns and metadata in Internet traffic by mixing data packets with those of other users.
Nym says that, unlike VPNs and Tor, mixnet can even defeat surveillance at the level of the National Security Agency, which can passively monitor an entire network, as CEO Harry Halpin explains:
“With Nym, you can communicate freely without your Internet traffic revealing your metadata. This is even more important now, given the increased surveillance due to the coronavirus. Nym’s mixnet stands up to a passive global adversary like the NSA which can record all traffic entering and leaving a network. “
The Nym testnet will take place in three phases during 2020. The first phase is mixnet and the establishment of public mixing nodes. This will be followed by the addition of validators, to completely decentralize the mixnet.
Finally, the third phase will see the implementation of rewards for those who run mixing nodes and mixing packages to secure the data of their colleagues.
The Nym mixnet will allow any blockchain or application wishing to provide improved privacy services to integrate into the network.
The creator of Zcash’s privacy coins (ZEC), Electric Coin Company, has participated in previous invitational testing, stating that “ECC believes network privacy is an essential layer of defense for cryptocurrency users.”
Fight for your right… to privacy
In Halpin’s view, privacy is being eroded by governments around the world as they strengthen surveillance and control of citizens in order to control the spread of COVID-19.
According to Halpin, once these measures are in place, they can be extremely difficult to reverse. He therefore believes that people must act collectively now to preserve personal freedoms.