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Tor Project Ended Crowdfunding Campaign on Friday, Generating Over $200,000

January 24
9:21 PM 2016

Tor is the acronym of The Onion Router, a computer network created by United States Naval Research Laboratory in 1995 to protect online communications of U.S. intelligence. The project is now trying to reduce dependency on U.S. government by launching crowdfunding campaign. The campaign has successfully raised $200,000.

The name Onion routing is a technology which encapsulated message in multiple layers of encryption analogous to layers of onion. The encrypted data is transmitted to a series of nodes called onion routers which peeling away the layers, revealing the next data destination. When final layer is peeled, the message has reached its destination.

Onion routing made the sender remains anonymous because each nodes only know the preceding and following nodes. This principle was developed by mathematician Paul Syverson and computer scientists Michael G. Reed and David Goldschlag in the U.S. Naval Research Lab. Soon after, Office of Naval research and DARPA took over the project, funded and developed the onion routing for military purpose in 1997.

Based on his onion routing principle, Paul Syverson, Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson created Tor project in September 2002. Two years later, U.S. Navy release the source code of onion routing as an open source and handed over the project to Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit foundation.

Tor now is a volunteer-based project to provide anonymity in the Internet and prevent network surveillance or traffic analysis for its users. The project relied heavily on U.S. government funding. According to its last IRS form 990, a financial document all non-profit organizations must submit to IRS, grant from federal government accounted 75% of its $2.5 million revenue in 2014.

United States States Department is listed as one of the federal government institutions that provided grant to Tor project in 2014. Shari Steele, executive director of Tor project told Ars Technica, "I can't deny that there are lots of people within the Tor community and lots of people who either are users of Tor or would be users of Tor who are concerned about the fact that so much of the money—or any of the money—is coming from US government sources."

In order to reduce its dependency on U.S. government funding, Tor project diversified its source fund by launching its crowdfunding. According to Tech Crunch, Tor Project began its first crowdfunding campaign back in November.

At first, according to its official blog as quoted by PC Magazine, Tor project is not sure abot the outcome of the crowdfunding, but it has to be done to diversify its source of fund.

On Friday, January 22, Tor Project announced the end of its crowdfunding campaign. The crowdfunding generates $205,874 fund from 5,265 donors over the six week period since November.

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