The TOR network provides privacy to millions of users around the world. Today, one of the major drawback getting in the way of a wide adoption of Tor is the lack of a human-readable naming system. The onion addresses used to reach a node in the Tor network are part of the cryptographic protocol, and as such they are a practically a random sequence of characters.

The community has proposed various solutions, but there are shortcomings for each of them. The ENS offers the perfect platform to solve many of these issues. Users can register an onion address and have their ENS name resolve it. The ENS takes care of the names distribution market, and provides a distributed "address book" that users can access via Metamask or our server.

What it does

Our project contains several parts:

  • we extended Metamask to resolve .eth domain also to their text["onion"] entry;
  • we added the option to set an onion address in the ens-app, to facilitate the registration of a hidden service to the ENS;
  • we put online a hidden service that can resolve onion addresses, acting as a search engine for users that prefer to avoid installing addons. Our server use Infura to connect to the Mainnet and the Ropsten blockchains. The hidden service is registered at storgate.eth on Mainnet and Ropsten;
  • we wrote a simple addon that connects directly to our server.
  • we setup a Tor Rocketchat (chat.storgate.eth) to use as a platform for discussion on future improvements.

Challenges we ran into

We spent some time trying to adapt the setContent() function already provided by the ENSPublicResolver to accept onion addresses, but unluckily we were not able to use it as the v3 onions are too long.

Our project has many different components, and getting them to work all together has represented a hurdle that we are proud to have overcome.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

sTorGate works. People around the world can start using it today, they just need to download the modified Metamask addon or the sTorGate addon to visit our server, and start surfing Tor and register their hidden services on the ENS.

What we learned

We learned a lot about the ENS and Tor platforms, and the way Metamask can be integrated with the ENS to provide an integrated user experience.

What's next for sTorGate

If this platform gets adopted by the community, it could be useful to define a special resolver for onion addresses, in an analogous way to the Ipfs resolver.

We would like to see our pull requests accepted and integrated in the main repositories.

Join the discussion @chat.storgate.eth!


Just download the addons: Metamask Storgate

Fire up you tor browser, visit about:debugging and Load Temporary Add-on. Browse to the zips and you're god to go!

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