I2P and the free internet. Interview with a community member

I2P is an anonymous peer-to-peer network. I2P provides applications and tooling for communicating on a privacy-aware, self-defense, distributed network. The diva.exchange association is using I2P technology to design its network. Today we’ll talk to Sadie, whose work focuses on outreach, secure usability, governance and digital rights. We will learn more about the current state of I2P technology,  application areas, and the global I2P community. Here we go.

General introduction to the technology. New developments

diva.exchange: Sadie, we know each other, and diva.exchange is actively using I2P technology. But now I ask you to tell our new users – what is I2P, what is the essence of this technology.

The project began over 20 years ago to create a network where the client is hidden from the server and the server is hidden from the client. Two router distributions are available for download – the core Java router and the I2pd, the C++ implementation. This software is free open source, and contributors are always welcome!
A history overview for the project was published a few years ago, for anyone who would like more details about the I2P origin story. 

The I2P network is a peer-to-peer based overlay network. It functions with a similar capacity to the clearnet (Internet). I2P network traffic does not interact with the Internet directly.

Encrypted unidirectional tunnels are used between connected routers. No one can see where traffic is coming from, where it is going, or what the contents are. The network also provides an application layer and has its own unique DNS-like infrastructure.

diva.exchange: Tor technology is widely known in the field of anonymous Internet. Please tell me how I2P differs from Tor. What are the pros and cons of these safe/anonymous internet technologies?

Sadie: The pros and cons are dependent on the use case or workflow within an individuals privacy and anonymity threat model. Many people make comparisons between I2P and the Tor browser, or a VPN. However, the I2P network was not designed to exit traffic and access content outside of the network. It is instead designed and optimized specifically for Hidden Services.
I2P network participants have the same status within the network, more or less. In I2P, everyone is a Client and a Router and no one is an Exit.

The I2P core distributions present a very broad use case within the software that includes how your router will connect to the I2P network, using I2P network applications, managing your own I2P service or site, and more. An I2P router also depends on configuring a browser to use a proxy so that it can connect to I2P sites or use the outproxy service that provides an anonymized way to connect to sites outside of the I2P network. The outproxy service is operated by StormyCloud.

In both cases, the pros are the technical achievements and continued efforts to offer people the option of privacy and anonymity for their networked traffic. I2P and Tor are not competing against each other – they are fighting censorship and surveillance. And as this fight continues, our communities should strive towards compatible resilience through integrations and infrastructure building.

The cons are that there are some places where people find using these options challenging. In some regions, protocols are blocked, sites are blocked, or there may be unclear legal issues when using encryption technologies. Blocking access to platforms where people can download software or add an application, or using methods like DNS-poisoning to block a site makes it harder for people to access Tor or I2P. Some regions block specific transports. In terms of I2P blocking, this was researched in 2019

Applications of I2P 

diva.exchange: We touched on the relationship between I2P and Tor. The well-known decentralized exchange BISQ uses the Tor network. Diva.exchange, on the other hand, uses I2P. How applicable do you think the I2P network is when developing a distributed network like Diva?

Sadie: The technologies and ontologies – distributed, private, censorship resistant – make the I2P network a good option for blockchain and financial privacy. There are many research and development opportunities ahead in this relationship with the extra scope that blockchain use cases bring to the network. It will be exciting to learn more about DNS possibilities that DIVA is exploring!

diva.exchange: Do you know of any other products that use I2P?

Sadie: There are quite a few I2P integrations, for example, Bit Torrent client.

Several projects offer I2P integrations. You can run a Monero or Bitcoin node on the I2P network, for instance.
Applications or services that use IRC, email and BitTorrent protocols have I2P integrations as well, such as Susimail, Snark, and BiglyBT. The I2P application layer and APIs make it possible to make almost anything work on the I2P network.

I2P community

diva.exchange: An important part of an I2P network is its active community. Please tell me more about it.

The I2P community is globally distributed since every person running a router is contributing to the network infrastructure. There is a development community that works on the core software options, networking and protocols. There are application developers, and then there are infrastructure contributors – reseed, outproxy and jump service operators. 

People are exploring the network for specific use cases, and its ability to support access in regions where censorship and protocol blocking is a challenge. I work with journalists, broadcasters, digital security trainers and the governance and policy community. This helps to better understand use cases, find gaps in onboarding and understand where distributed networks connect to broader policy conversations. 

diva.exchange: What are the specific characteristics of the I2P community in the US? 

Sadie: I guess we could look at something like I2P Metrics and get a technical overview of what sort of routers are running by region. Aside from routers by country data, there is no way to know anything about the identities or traffic connected to those routers. I know for sure that there are a lot of I2P routers in America and there are a lot of I2P routers in Germany.

diva.exchange: Who are its representatives and active participants, what are the specific features of the I2P community in the US?

In the I2P network location and identity are protected, so we can only know what people want us to know and choose to tell us. This applies to people who contribute as well. Over the past 20 years, many people have attended conferences to talk about I2P all over the world. The core teams provide updates on their forums and IRC with regard to roadmaps and development. They are always happy to welcome new contributors, and the i2p-dev IRC channel is a great place to stay up to date on the release schedule and learn about how I2P works.

In the US there are lots of conferences like HOPE, USENIX, and DEF CON, hackerspaces, and organizations like EFF. These provide scaffolding for new and existing people to connect and work together on technologies, security and legal protections regarding online privacy. Being in proximity to good internet connectivity and a thriving hacker/ privacy/ digital rights culture influences a person’s ability to participate in privacy technologies anywhere in the world.

Network Development: what can I do?

diva.exchange: in the I2P account on Reddit, I’ve come across posts like this: I’m a newbie, how can I help network development? What would you say to such users?

There are a lot of ways to support the project. Are you a designer or a programmer? Do you have experience with testing and giving feedback during a software release cycle? Can you help with translations? Do you have the resources to operate a reseed server? There are ways to directly support development. There are ways to support design and access. There are ways to strengthen infrastructure points. Get in touch, check out issues on Gitlab, stop by IRC i2p-dev!

diva.exchange: One last question. Let’s fix it for our readers – where you can find information about the I2P network and instructions on connecting.

Sadie: the project website has most of the information people need about the software and technical documentation. There are people in the community who are creating guides and tutorials for topics that are outside of the scope of the website documentation. People can connect with the I2P community on Reddit (r/i2p), I2P Forum, and on IRC. The project also has X and Mastodon accounts.


The non-profit association diva.exchange, Switzerland, uses a barrier-free and collaborative approach to create free banking technology for everyone. Open-source technology ensures the privacy of all participants in the financial system of the future. The blockchain-based system is fully distributed. Everyone can participate in diva.exchange.

Diva.exchange is committed to the belief that only commercially free technology can reliably protect user privacy.

Collaboration with the scientific community plays an important role in the development of diva.exchange. The results of diva.exchange research are constantly being validated by academic institutions and publicly presented at specialized conferences.


All technical information is available at: https://github.com/diva-exchange/

I2P beginner’s guide and installation guide:https://www.diva.exchange/en/privacy/introduction-to-i2p-your-own-internet-secure-private-and-free/

All videos are here: https://odysee.com/@diva.exchange:d/

Introduction to I2P: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I2P

Testnet of diva.exchange: https://testnet.diva.exchange


Twitter: https://twitter.com/@DigitalValueX

Mastodon: https://social.diva.exchange/@social

If you still have questions you can always find us on Telegram: https://t.me/diva_exchange_chat_de (in English, German, or Russian