Poke a hole on Great Firewall in China, now Hong Kong

Applicant background

After working with some prominent activists inside and hard-core technologists outside China, based on the r&d at https://github.com/net4people/bbs, we are poised to create a protocol to use both cryptocurrency and decentralized infrastructure to enable users inside China or Hong Kong to access the global internet freely and safely. The protocol will be open-sourced to enable public scrutiny together with a native incentive framework to apply privacy-assured cryptocurrency to gauge usage paying to traffic providers.

Motivation and overview

The censorship issue in China is getting exacerbated in the passing 3 years provided the Great Firewall System and domestic surveillance are gaining more muscle including machine learning techniques, not to mention some recent cases targeting individual internet users who were using circumvention tools(https://hongkongfp.com/2019/01/20/chinese-authorities-go-citizens-using-vpns-skirt-online-censorship/). We need some counter-strategy to tackle such issues and even leapfrog to protect the internet freedom universally.

Technical approach

We expect to apply open source technologies including cryptocurrency integrating with some key advancements in circumvention areas(shadowsocks, TLS, ESNI, etc.) as transportation protocols to enable common users to encrypt(thus conceal) their overall circumvention activities(payment, profile, traffic, etc.) thus being more safe and secure to bypass the Great Firewall system consistently. Upon that, a new protocol to enable everyone to provide traffic from any corner and earn their honorary income to support internet freedom.

Execution risks

  • the leak of the team information would be very dangerous to individuals who participated in the project
  • the project itself would become the target of the censors and be sabotaged before its proliferation

Downsides

Using cryptocurrency to gauge and compensate the traffic providers would be difficult for common users who are not familiar with such concepts or facing usability issues. Some cryptocurrencies are still not safe to authorities given the public accessibility and traceability of blockchain. Security-wise, routing through other people's computers/servers would cause concerns on data/profile leakage, which we should be very careful not to design the wrong way from day one.

Evaluation plan

  • We will start the project based on our existing community, so it's transparent at some level based on Github repo(used as a discussion group).
  • We'd expect the user base grow to 5x to 10x in a year, gauged by blockchain tx volume
  • We will provide a dashboard for public scrutiny on the statistical data related to global access nodes(numbers and locations only, no IP information should be exposed)

Tasks and schedule

  • Q1, 2021: Protocol design, MVP1
  • Q2, 2021: MVP2-MVP3, experimental functions with existing community
  • Q3, 2021: Soft launch to the public mass; open up the protocol
  • Q4, 2021: Grow with global partners and individual traffic providers

Budget and justification

  • Team (principal researcher, UX designer/application developer, architect)
  • Budget: 50K USD (in cryptocurrency): -- team compensation (30K) -- bootstrap infrastructure(20K)

Tipping

Tips Received
???  
ZEC
Accepted without fundingThis proposal has been posted publicly, but isn't being funded by the Zcash Foundation.

Campaign

Started
14 days ago
Requested Funding
$50,000
Open for Community Donations