You've probably heard of VPNs and how they help you anonymously surf the internet and unblock websites that are restricted to certain geographic locations.
But what's a dVPN and how does it help you stay truly anonymous? Does it reduce data costs or increase the speed of your connection?
Well, not quite. But it's cool. So hear us out.
Before we dive into how a decentralized VPN works, its associated routing mechanisms, unstoppable domains and web applications, let's talk about the clearnet.
The internet you're using right now to read this article is called the clearnet. It is the publicly accessible internet that lets you browse web applications such as medium.com or even our very own beldex.io.
Clearnet: the elephant in the room that nobody talks about
There's a catch to using the clearnet. Wherever you go on the internet, you leave a trail. It is similar to a residue or dust on your shoes that can be used to track where you came from and what you did. There are several trackers and cookies on the websites that you visit. These trackers follow you around and hamper your browsing experience. They collect your IP address and information about your location, identity, gender, language among others. The metadata so collected is used to create your digital profile (about your likes and preferences) which inturn is used to target you with personalized ads.
VPNs to the rescue, right?
VPNs help you prevent these trackers from identifying your IP address and identity. But most VPN providers are themselves centralized entities and need to be trusted to keep your information safe from prying eyes. Regulations also play a major role in the extent of privacy offered by VPN companies and service providers. A regulator, an entity with vested interest and the means to access the VPN’s servers, or the service provider themselves possess the ability to access your data.
If VPNs can still be used to track you, then is there a solution to true privacy on the internet? The short answer is yes.
Here’s the long one. The solution is to use a trustless, autonomous, censorship-free application that is self-regulated and does not require an external entity to operate its services. Such an application would use an onion routing protocol over a decentralized network to encrypt and mask your IP address without the need for a third party to do it. They are P2P VPNs.
Onion Routing: Layer by Layer Privacy
Onion routing, like the layers of an onion, routes a message or a traffic over many layers of encryption using a network of computers (called nodes in case of a blockchain).
In traditional encryption methods, your messages are protected but can still be intercepted.
Onion routing offers a greater level of security and privacy when compared to traditional encryption and routing protocols as it obfuscates your identity while ensuring that none of the information that you requested to access (your connection) or accessed (browsing history) is intercepted or disrupted by anyone who wants to tap into your connection.
Some of the prominent networks that implement onion routing are the Tor protocol and the I2P protocol. However, as Tor maintains Directory Authorities, it is not as decentralized while I2P has its own set of issues and is not completely anonymous when accessing the clearnet.
Onion routing with a decentralized VPN anonymizes your IP & browsing history not only to ISPs and third parties, it also cannot be compromised, intercepted, or disrupted by the network’s node operators.
What is BelNet?
BelNet is a decentralized VPN built on the Beldex blockchain. It is akin to a P2P VPN network as every person who hosts a relay or exit node adds to the anonymity of the P2P network.
BelNet is an open source network that masks the IP addresses of the user with the help of relay and exit nodes. Users can surf both the clearnet and applications hosted on BelNet (MNApps) with the help of these nodes.
No username or password required
BelNet does not store user data and can be easily accessed by anyone. BelNet will be available as a cross-platform mobile and desktop application. Since it is a DApp built on the Beldex network, you can access it without the need for a username, email address, or a password.
When you connect to BelNet, your connection (IP address) is encrypted at each hop (from one node to another node) until it reaches the exit node. Every request (from the user) is routed through at least three nodes before it exits from the exit node. The destination example.com will only see the exit node’s IP. This protects you from exposing your location or other personal details.
Enabling BelNet on your device lets you surf the internet anonymously from anywhere in the world. It provides you with true global access to all the websites.
The BelNet P2P VPN can be used to unblock websites that are otherwise restricted to certain geolocations.
Who can use BelNet?
Everyone. The BelNet dVPN was created to provide equal access irrespective of a person’s race, class, creed, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. BelNet is for digital rights and human rights everywhere and, to everyone.
BelNet will especially be of use to vulnerable and marginalized communities, civil rights activists, ethnic minorities, refugees, journalists and reporters who are in need of digital privacy and confidentiality.
Beldex Name Service (BNS) & MNApps
Whatever business you may own, the first thing your customers would ask you is, "Do you have a website?" Today, every business has a website as it plays a major role in the business’s success.
Purchasing a domain is the first step when starting a website. Web2 domains have the TLD .com, .org, .co, .io and so on and so forth.
Such domains are sold by a domain registrar and so they hold a monopoly over them. They could choose to block or restrict access to your domain if they wanted to, severely affecting your business. Once a domain is blocked, it can only be recovered at the sole discretion of the domain registrar. Oftentimes, it might be unrecoverable.
Should domain name registrars be the proprietary holders of domain names? Do you think domains should be free from centralized control?
We do too and that’s why we’ve come up with unstoppable domain names on BelNet called Beldex Name Service (BNS). These domains end with the TLD .bdx. For example,
We call them unstoppable domains because they’re truly unstoppable. They provide you with censorship-free private internet access.
Example.bdx domains can be purchased via the Beldex Name Service using BDX. The apps hosted using .bdx domains on BelNet are called MNApps (since they’re supported by the Masternodes on the Beldex network).
They are hosted on a regular server but masked by BelNet. And so it is virtually impossible to locate the server. Both the service provider and the users who access the domain via BelNet are anonymized. This enables businesses and organizations to protect their websites from hacks, attacks, censorship and bans from registrars.
Web apps or MNApps on BelNet have the added advantage of being ad-free. It emphasizes the value of the hosted content and maximizes user engagement.
Some advantages of using MNApps,
- Ad-free service
- No user data is tracked
- No logs are saved
- Private and censorship-free apps
- Masternodes act as the routers
- Secured by the Beldex network
Stay tuned for more information on BelNet & follow our socials for instant updates.