8chan is an anarchist internet forum that disappeared from the web in August. Last weekend it appeared again under the name of 8kun. This time it was achieved through decentralised website hosting. The forum is going to stay on the web permanently, no matter how controversial it may be.
How did it start?
8chan disappeared from the network because of the termination of services by Cloudflare. The hosting provider justified the action by the negative character of the portal. “8chan uses hate speech and incites violence on a daily basis, all completely anonymously. The CEO himself, Matthew Prince, spoke negatively about the website. Tencent and Alibaba followed in the footsteps of Cloudflare. This decision was made shortly after the recent shooting in El Paso.
Nevertheless, where many people saw the 8chan chaos, a group of his supporters treated the forum as a bastion of freedom of speech.
The founders did not surrender
“We are on the front line of the fight against deplatformity. We are developing tools and techniques that other sites can use when they are removed.
That’s what Ron Watkins, the administrator of 8chan, commented on. The owner of the website, Jim Watkins, also spoke about the activities:
“Unlike other platforms that have experienced the ban, 8chan intends to be 100% committed to the promise of the First Amendment.
Three months after the fall of 8chan, programmers turned their backs on Internet Service Provider (ISP) services and created an open, decentralized and censorship-resistant host for their forum.
The focal point of the new system is a protocol called Lokinet, which will soon be connected to the blockchain. The network, which is based on fork monero called Loki, acts as a privacy network called Tor. Lokinet’s task is to make it easier to host censorship-resistant and deplatforming websites. Basing the structure on this system greatly facilitated the testing phase.
However, the fight for forum revival is not so simple. One of the former founders of the portal – Brennan – actively tries to present the opponents of the idea of revival of the portal ways to eliminate it again – whether through DDoS attacks or other hostile activities. Additionally, a group of people connected with the forum tried to persuade other providers to turn away from 8chan. Additionally, only 20 minutes after launching 8kun, mass attacks on the portal started.
Viktor Shpak, CTO VisibleMagic, a company providing consulting services in the blockchain area, referred to the technological aspects of the 8kun operation. In his opinion, the adoption of the Loki protocol may negatively affect the functioning of the young platform. The limited number of nodes will make the 8kun visible in the network, as well as vulnerable to attacks from hackers and the government.
“The first wave of visitors to our site completely crushed our servers.”
So he commented on the return of 8kun Watkins. This spectacular attendance success once again makes us aware of the technological challenges of the project.
“The risk that we won’t be able to defend ourselves against attacks will appear and disappear until we figure out how to defend ourselves.
Despite this, the creator remains optimistic about the future of the project. As he himself stresses, he manages a small team of idealists who are fighting a war for freedom of speech in a strange slanderous campaign based on slander.
Regardless of the controversy surrounding 8chan, reactivating the platform with blockchain is a bold step. This case study will most likely show whether blockchain at this stage of development is able to technically maintain freedom of speech and privacy on the Internet.