It's hard to believe, but I2P has been around for nearly 20 years! From its beginning as a C project which provided anonymous access to IRC, we've had hundreds of contributors, accepted checkins from dozens of coders, used 2 main languages, 3 version control systems, experienced a migration of its crypography, and multiple soft-forks. There have been around 500 registered sites on the Invisible Web, and countless unregistered I2P sites that were only accessible via their cryptographic hostnames.
Thanks to the participation of users like you, the network has grown from a tiny group of power users to over 75,000 nodes operated from all over the world, made of I2P routers bundled in perhaps dozens of applications. Today I2P is available in on Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, and has ports for FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and many other systems. I2P can run on phones and even in SOHO routers (thanks to the independent C++ implementation of the protocol, i2pd).
A Routing Protocol with Flagship Applications
Even before other anonymity projects were providing their own application bundles, I2P was a tool for building applications that were configured for anonymity. Over the years, we've leaned on this strength, by expanding our APIs to support more and more versatile applications. Today, we're still developing new ways of building I2P into applications.
Using the power of the Hidden Services Manager or the SAM API, developers of all kinds of applications can empower their users with anonymity using I2P. Exciting downstream projects like Monero's I2P-Zero have made it very easy for developers to help their users get connected to I2P. Today, I2P helps provide anonymity to dozens of applications including Bitcoin, IRC, email and multiple file-sharing protocols.
An Anonymous Network By Everyone, For Everyone
I2P has always been a decentralized network, because its obvious that providing an anonymity network is an intrinsically collaborative process. To illustrate with the most extreme example, a single computer cannot provide itself with anonymity, nor can it be a useful network, by definiton. However, building I2P in this fully-decentralized manner hasn't always been easy.
From the beginning, I2P would need to be scalable, and be able to balance itself so that high-bandwidth nodes wouldn't be able to easily take over the network. Sybil attacks would leave the realm of academia and we would need to develop new defenses against them.
We've worked very hard to never compromise on this stance, and today every I2P router helps participate in providing the network with bandwidth resources and providing the users with anonymity. In doing so, we've learned incredible things and produced a network which at times has seemed inconceivable.
Over the next 2 weeks, we've planned some blog posts where we'll explore the past, present, and future of I2P, highlight applications and tools that build on and enhance I2P, and showcase the best of our community. Check back here for more in the coming days!
- The History of I2P
- Dependency-Free I2P of the Future - Jpackage Bundles and I2P-Zero (from Monero)
- Level-Up your I2P use with Encrypted LeaseSets
- Dividing the Triangle: How I2P Eases Naming and Increases Flexibility for End-Users
- I2P's Usability Journey
- Building Bridges - Making Connections with Other Privacy Projects