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Lokinet AMA with the Team

27 June 2023Wes Sukh

Lokinet has grown a lot over the years, and everyone here at the project is excited for its future. It's been a while between drinks, so we took the opportunity to touch base with the community, hosting a formal AMA and project update for Lokinet, which you can check out here. 

Hosted on 20/6/23, Alex sat down with Jason and Tom to answer any and all community questions, offering a unique insight into the direction of the project, in an intimate digital environment. 

Since 2019, Jason has played a pivotal role in the project, contributing to various areas but predominantly focusing on the back-end. He has recently shifted more of his expertise and vast experience towards Lokinet management, enhancing its capabilities and robustness.

Tom has been deeply involved with OXEN since its early days. Having worked extensively on the Monero project, he was brought onto the OXEN team owing to his comprehensive knowledge and prowess. He recently transitioned into a full-time role, reinforcing Lokinet, Core, and other critical Python or C++ components of the project.

Although he was not a part of the stream, we want to take this opportunity to acknowledge Jeff’s excellent work on Lokinet over the last few years. Lokinet would not exist as it does without him — and we thank Jeff for his contribution to Lokinet and internet privacy.

Q&A Summary

Why is Lokinet so awesome? Lokinet's excellence stems from its founder's vision, the team's dedication, and its unique utility when compared to other offerings like TOR and I2P.

When will the Lokinet application update for Windows be released? Currently, the team is focusing on backend changes and there is no specific client-facing update planned for Windows. However, a release may occur in a few months.

When will there be an Android version of Lokinet? An Android version of Lokinet exists but is currently unmaintained due to performance issues. The team is prioritizing enhancing desktop performance before focusing on the Android version.

How will we prevent a double onion routing situation when Lokinet is integrated into Session? A strategy to prevent 'double onion routing' involves using a DNS lookup on a LocalHost or local router to check for the availability of .loki and avoid redundancy.

In terms of Session Lokinet integration and the Exit Marketplace for Lokinet, which of those will be implemented first? Lokinet integration into Session is expected to happen first, with the integration already under internal iOS testing. The Exit Marketplace is planned for release by the end of the year.

How do you plan to manage concerns about the proposed Exit Marketplace and potential similarities to the FCC Net Neutrality issue? The team plans to charge for usage above a certain threshold to maintain the ecosystem rather than slowing down competitors.

Would it be possible to have a similar (SNAPP ONS) system for SNAPPs who are expecting large amounts of traffic? Yes, a high-traffic SNAPP could operate in a similar way to a large Exit, handling a vast amount of data from the network.

Would we consider adding a record or equivalent ability to the Lokinet ONS system for subdomain routing? This suggestion was noted for consideration, and users are encouraged to bring up this idea on Github for further discussion.

Can we achieve stream isolation like TOR does for Unix on Lokinet? Stream isolation similar to TOR on Unix is technically possible but is not an immediate focus due to its complexities.

Will there be any official releases of Lokinet in Unix or other platforms? The team is open to packaging Lokinet for other platforms, but it requires significant effort. Assistance from users on those platforms would be appreciated.

Can you use Lokinet in China without facing any consequences? Using Lokinet in China is currently possible, but consequences depend on the Chinese government's actions. If Lokinet is found to bypass firewalls, it could face a ban. Moreover, the user might face penalties if the government decides to criminalize Lokinet use.

Why is it not recommended to use custom DNS such as AdGuard when using Lokinet? Using custom DNS won't affect Lokinet usage if not in Exit mode. However, in Exit mode, DNS traffic should be tunneled over the Exit. Using a custom DNS in this scenario could reveal more information than intended.

What is the roadmap for Lokinet and the services built on top of it? The immediate roadmap includes integrating Lokinet into Session and launching the Exit Marketplace. Improving Lokinet's communication layer for enhanced performance and reliability is also a priority.

What is the difference between I2P and Lokinet? I2P lacks Service Nodes, which are integral to Lokinet and ensure quality network bandwidth. Lokinet operates at a lower level, so applications don't require modifications or a proxy.

How is Lokinet's low visibility and misinformation being addressed by the OPTF? Lokinet is not being heavily marketed until it's improved for less tech-savvy users. The team learned from past experiences that promoting a product before it's ready can lead to backlash. Efforts to address misinformation will be made in the future.

Is security being included in Exit Nodes to protect the provider of the Exit Node? Exit Node communication with the Lokinet network is securely encrypted. However, Exit Node providers assume some risk due to the transportation of traffic for anonymous users, and they must adhere to their ISP's requirements and their location's legal mandates.

Does the Exit Marketplace present a significant computational cost to the network? The marketplace itself doesn't pose a substantial computational cost. Additional resource usage occurs when heavy traffic is routed through an Exit Node, a sign of active network usage.

Will Jeff and the OXEN project have separate forks of Lokinet in the future? Jeff has left his role as an OXEN developer, but as Lokinet is open-source, he could contribute or develop a different network in the future.

Are the rumors about foreign government grants causing Jeff's resignation true? The directors of the foundation will not and have not accepted grant money with strings attached that could compromise their software. They strictly avoid undue external influence, promising transparency if such a situation arose.

Is the research direction on censorship resistance contradicting Jeff's plans for Lokinet? Jason doesn't believe that traffic obfuscation is a viable long-term solution for censorship resistance. They may investigate it using a grant but likely wouldn't adopt it widely.

Can Exit Node providers collect any user data? Exit Node operators can see the traffic sent out via their node, including unencrypted data and destination IP addresses, similar to what an ISP or VPN provider can access.

What is the process of implementing liblokinet from a developer's perspective? Lokinet provides a set of C functions for controlling its processes and establishing paths. Feedback from Session developers has helped to streamline the liblokinet integration process.

What is the recent QUIC development for Lokinet? QUIC is an internet protocol designed to replace UDP and TCP. It offers features like lossy streams and one-round-trip connections, and allows connection migration, beneficial for mobile users. QUIC is being adopted as it provides a more reliable data transport.

What will happen with the tasks Jeff was working on? Jeff's tasks have been redistributed within the team. The planned refactoring of Lokinet layers has been delayed due to complexity, and current QUIC efforts will partially overlap with this refactor.

The Lokinet team continues to proactively chart the course through the realms of censorship resistance and digital privacy, anchored on steadfast and dependable solutions. As an open-source network layer established on the OXEN Service Node network, Lokinet provides a foundation for private, untraceable, and resilient internet access, marking the dawn of a new age in online privacy.

Lokinet is an integral component of the OXEN ecosystem, has been persistently advancing and innovating thanks to the relentless efforts of developers like Jason, Tom and Dan — but we can’t forget Jeff, who was pivotal in creating the vision and helping to get Lokinet to where it is today.

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