We have seen The Pirate Bay and how it became world’s biggest P2P file sharing website. At one time, it was responsible for generating almost 50% of the world’s internet traffic through the Bittorrent network. But we also witnessed the dark destiny of its founders who had to face numerous lawsuits filed by production houses in order to defend their pirate user base.
A new platform has emerged on the internet which poses itself as a serious threat to the intentions of copyright holders. Well, it is not intended for being so. Known as ZeroNet, it is kind of a server-less human-powered network which uses a technology that is an amalgamation of the Bitcoin cryptography and Bittorrent network. We have also talked about the technical details of ZeroNet in the past.
What is ZeroNet?
So, What’s the real deal? ZeroNet works in a similar way just like you share torrent files on the BitTorrent P2P network. The difference is that here a website is shared instead of pirated movies and tv shows. A website uploaded on ZeroNet isn’t hosted on a central server but by the users who access it, just like the torrent network in which the data is pulled from the machines which are downloading the torrent. A new user who wants to access the website gets the relevant files from existing users.
So, if you’re accessing a website on ZeroNet, you’re simultaneously hosting the website on your machine. That’s kind of a crash-proof solution and could safeguard the existence of the website in case some legal authority wants to take it down. For using ZeroNet, you’ll have to download its bundle which will authorize your machine to connect to the network. Once connected, you’ll be able to upload your own website or open an existing one by typing the ZeroNet URL in your web browser. You can know more about how it works by clicking here.
Play – First website on ZeroNet
The first website that has popped up on this decentralized network is ‘Play’. A simple but visually appealing magnet link hosting website welcomes you with a whole lot of movies and their YouTube trailer links. Now, you might be thinking this platform will propel the pirate ships at higher speeds which would contribute to legal obligations against ZeroNet. But the story is quite different in this book, ZeroNet breaks no legal barriers as it itself is not involved in any pirate activity. Websites like Play are hosted by the users and are prone to lawsuit actions, but it would be a tough job to bring a countless number of users into the witness box.
Anonymity is another major concern that needs to be taken into consideration. While ZeroNet itself doesn’t offer you any shield but you can hide behind a Virtual Private Network or use ZeroNet plus TOR combination to remain anonymous.
Back in 2014, Bittorrent Inc. announced similar project named Maelstrom. The primary aim of the project was to build an Internet truly powered by people, one that lowers barriers and denies gatekeepers their grip on our future.
This real-time updated distributed network has the potential to overcome any possibility of network failures or website takedowns, as many users host a website on their machines. It also works even if a single user serves the website. The worst scenario would be if all the peers get disconnected from the network, this will eventually render the website inaccessible. But, that would be an unthinkable situation, considering its popularity will only skyrocket in the coming years.
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