Browsing privately is one thing. Paying privately online is another. Anoncoin, a Tor- and I2P-compatible Internet currency with an anti-censorship focus, offers a solution to the latter challenge.
Anoncoin bills itself as “a privacy-centric currency fully compatible with the I2P and TOR darknets. Anoncoin will be available no matter what the authorities do.”
Anoncoin works in a way similar to Bitcoin and other online currencies. However, Anoncoin developers promise a level of user privacy that is absent from Bitcoin and similar currencies.
Toward that end, the currency offers built-in support for Tor and I2P, networking overlays that hide the true identity and IP address of users. That means people can send and receive Anoncoin currency without revealing their true identities.
Anoncoin developers also say that they designed the currency, which launched in June 2013, to be resilient in the face of “an eventual crackdown from hostile governments and central banks.” Government control of online currencies is already a growing concern, as efforts to regulate Bitcoin show.
Anoncoin resists regulation by relying on a completely decentralized, peer-to-peer network of currency miners. Because users’ identities remain anonymous and transactions take place over Tor or I2P, where third parties cannot easily eavesdrop or block traffic, regulating Anoncoin or preventing transactions would be very difficult.
The Anoncoin developers are working on an even more private online currency solution, called Zerocoin. Zerocoin will be a completely anonymous currency that “will not rely at all on trusted third parties,” they say. For now, Zerocoin remains under development, with release expected in late 2015.