Good bye

On January 31st, 2022, the Cryptohippie anonymity network will be decommissioned. We will keep the network operating until then if at all possible, and afterward our email server will remain operational, so your email accounts will remain active. Please accept our regrets for this situation, but there was nothing we could do about it. And as we have always protected your privacy, we will do so until the end.

Renewals over our last month have been reduced to 5 USD, and by staying current, you will keep your email. (We will not have customer support, so please stay current if you want your email account to continue.) At some point we will begin charging for email accounts (with as many privacy features as possible), but that will have to wait until we get through our present challenges. And, of course, we’ll post notifications in advance.

For a proper goodbye, please read on:

We’ve had a great run. Our adventure began in the early 2000s, among cypherpunks in encrypted chat rooms. Then, in early 2005, two of us decided that we would do it – that we would build an international network and provide strong anonymity on the Internet. In 2007 the network was complete enough to accept customers and we have been protecting good people, world over, since then. Now, however, we have reached the end of our road.

The underlying reason for our departure is simply a lack of interest. Inexplicably to us, most people are unwilling to pay for strong anonymity. It would seem that they believe the claims of cheap or free VPNs and consider the matter no further. We have tried our best to convince them otherwise, and quite a few good people have helped us to do so, but customers simply have not responded. If we had enough money coming in, we might have adapted and overcome our present difficulties, but that didn’t happen.

Recently our primary data center has begun cutting our IP addresses, citing filesharing and copyright issues. As a result, the quality of our system (but not its privacy) is being impacted. And so we’ll decommission our anonymity network before further problems can arise. We will be sorry to disconnect our network, but we have no practical solution and we all knew this was a possibility.

We will continue our email system as a stand-alone service: Our users will keep their email addresses and accounts. But aside from that, Cryptohippie is going away. We have played our role and now it is time for others to step up.

We wish we could point you to a good alternative, but we do not know of one. There have always been promises of new systems, but not systems that are in place and operating.

Tor (the onion router), used in its standard mode, requires users to trust random exit nodes with the real addresses they are connecting to, and with the unencrypted contents of their messages. We believe that US intelligence and other groups are running a large percentage of these nodes, but you can make up your own mind.

Also remember that Tor does not protect the entire IP stack; furthermore that it is often too slow for daily use.

The Tor anonymous mutual reachability capability works well, but setting it up requires serious expertise, otherwise it can become dangerously insecure. Please don’t try to hack it together unless you are an experienced administrator.

Also please remember that when you setup an anonymity system, you are facing off against a large number of experienced professionals, often very well funded.

And So, Adieu

The end of an adventure can be sad, but this was a noble adventure, and not many people get to be part of such things. Our Cryptohippie trek will end, having been conducted honestly and professionally throughout, and we will be proud of that for a long, long time.

Thank you for the part you played in our journey.

– The Cryptohippie Team