Ethereum Name Service (ENS) has just announced that it can now be applied to Tor.onion addresses.
Tor is a popular network which allows anonymous communication anywhere in the world by directing Internet traffic through the Tor Browser, hiding the IP addresses of its users. Using the network makes it more difficult to trace Internet activity such as visits to web sites and online messaging, to the user. Developers can also establish websites that are only accessible on the Tor Browser, known as ‘onion services’.
The issue is that onion services on Tor, which end with “.onion”, are randomly generated on the Tor Browser. For instance, the onion service search engine Duck Duck Go will have the following address: https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/ (This address only works on the Tor Browser).
These non-readable addresses have long been an issue faced by Tor, but ENS can now convert these into easily-readable addresses. ENS is a naming service which is based on a set of smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. ENS is a decentralised naming service, by converting human-readable names into machine-readable identifiers or vice versa. It does so for blockchains, such as to resolve an Ethereum hex address, but also for non-blockchain projects such as Tor.
The ENS service works on the Tor Browser, which needs to be downloaded. On the browser, users need to enable the Ethereum browser extension MetaMask. They can thus enter ENS-enabled onion services. In this instance, the Duck Duck Go address has been simplified to: duckduckgotor.eth , which is human-readable.
Onion services can register their websites with an .eth name on the ENS Registrar. According to ENS, the process of conversion should not take more than a few minutes.