Tor Optimization for Better Coinjoins

It is, unfortunately, no surprise to anyone that the privacy network Tor has been under Distributed Denial of Service attack for the last few months, and as a result, has been suffering from severe latency and reliability issues in routing traffic. Many bitcoin projects, including Wasabi Wallet, depend on Tor as a mission-critical infrastructure to protect the privacy of their users. In light of the attack, this resulted in infrequent coinjoins for Wasabi Wallet users. As a countermeasure to address this reliability issue, the Wasabi client switched from connecting with the backend onion server to using Tor exit nodes and routing traffic to the clearnet domain of the coinjoin coordinator. All traffic is still anonymized to prevent the client from leaking its IP address to the coinjoin coordinator server and protect user privacy. After performing testing and scenario analysis, the Wasabi contributors realized it would vastly improve the reliability and frequency of coinjoin rounds, preventing inputs from being blocked by the coordinator. Inputs are usually blocked if they repeatedly fail to sign the coinjoin transaction, to protect against DDoS attacks on the coordinator itself. Users downloading the latest release should now expect much more reliable and frequent coinjoins, vastly improving their experience. As this doesn’t directly address the Tor hidden identity registry DDoS attack but routes around it, zkSNACKs is also extending its fundraising support to help the Tor team fund developers to work towards resolving this ongoing issue.  

Tor is a critically important project for privacy on bitcoin and the internet that millions of people rely upon on a daily basis. Wasabi Wallet is grateful that such a tool exists and will do as much as possible to support Tor by promoting it and helping with its fundraising. Tor reliability is directly impacting the user experience of Wasabi Wallet users, so we care about this issue a lot. ~ Max Hillebrand, Wasabi Contributor and CEO at zkSNACKs.

A New Privacy Progress Feature

Privacy is often an abstract concept that is hard to relate to for most users. Making privacy more understandable by providing elegant visuals is taking one step closer to bringing privacy to millions of bitcoiners around the world.

On the home screen of the Wasabi desktop app, a privacy progress bar is now available, showing the size of each coin and their privacy levels within a colour scheme. Users now have a complete view of their wallet privacy with the existing wallet privacy score (that remains unchanged). The privacy bars can be expanded into a privacy ring viewed in a pop-up dialog, which provides additional information about each coin, its size and its privacy level. This gives optional insight into the wallet's status, allowing users to have a better understanding of how much privacy they’ve achieved at any given time.

There is something satisfying with checklists and loading bars, especially when completed. It feels like progress is made and work gets done. While we believe privacy is a habit rather than a fixed goal, we hope that bringing privacy progress visuals will help more users take the leap and reclaim their privacy. ~ Max Hillebrand, Wasabi Contributor and CEO at zkSNACKs.