Privacy Enhancing Technologies

Volume 5134 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 219-236

PAR: Payment for Anonymous Routing

  • Elli AndroulakiAffiliated withColumbia University
  • , Mariana RaykovaAffiliated withColumbia University
  • , Shreyas SrivatsanAffiliated withColumbia University
  • , Angelos StavrouAffiliated withGeorge Mason University
  • , Steven M. BellovinAffiliated withColumbia University

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Despite the growth of the Internet and the increasing concern for privacy of online communications, current deployments of anonymization networks depend on a very small set of nodes that volunteer their bandwidth. We believe that the main reason is not disbelief in their ability to protect anonymity, but rather the practical limitations in bandwidth and latency that stem from limited participation. This limited participation, in turn, is due to a lack of incentives to participate. We propose providing economic incentives, which historically have worked very well.

In this paper, we demonstrate a payment scheme that can be used to compensate nodes which provide anonymity in Tor, an existing onion routing, anonymizing network. We show that current anonymous payment schemes are not suitable and introduce a hybrid payment system based on a combination of the Peppercoin Micropayment system and a new type of “one use” electronic cash. Our system claims to maintain users’ anonymity, although payment techniques mentioned previously – when adopted individually – provably fail.