BTCPay Server — the self-hosted, non-custodial payment server project — has released support for the TOR network following several weeks of work. TOR support will be enabled for multiple components of the service including the LND node, WooCommerce, Raspberry Pi, Spark, and c-Lightning.
TOR stands for ‘The Onion Browser’ and is an overlay network technology designed to mask the IP address of its users by routing traffic through a network of volunteer nodes. While it does not provide perfect anonymity, it is a useful tool in adding a layer of privacy for users of BTCPay Server.
Tor and BTCPay Server
BTCPay Server outlined their desire to add support for TOR in a blog post last month, citing the reasons being an ease-of-use privacy solution that can be advanced further in the future. However, they explicitly note that TOR is not a perfect privacy solution.
TOR has been around since 2002 and is a network-layer privacy enhancement that came out of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory following development in the 1990s. It’s popular for enabling journalists and activists in oppressive regimes to access and post content to the Internet while subverting internet service providers and the government.
Although not perfect, the use of TOR with a VPN can boost your internet browsing privacy significantly, and its adoption among cryptocurrency proponents is notable. According to BTCPay Server:
“TOR support will allow deployment of BTCPay via plug and play scenario without any configuration necessary.”
BTCPay Server’s mainnet demo is updated to reflect the support with TOR.
What is BTCPay Server?
BTCPay Server is an open-source, self-hosted payment processor project that enables users to process their own Bitcoin (and some altcoins) payments. Effectively a non-custodial form of BitPay, BTCPay Server has gained traction among many core Bitcoin proponents for its censorship-resistance, privacy, and security.
The service is easy to set up and can be integrated with e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce via a plugin. Users can also set up stores for accepting Bitcoin online and at the point-of-sale (PoS) using their own self-hosted server or another host’s server. Importantly, third-party hosts never have access to the private keys of users who build stores on their servers. Payments are received directly to merchant wallets without any intermediaries.
BTCPay Server is popular because there are no transactions fees charged for merchants, unlike Visa and Mastercard, besides what the on-chain fee for that cryptocurrency is. The project is also integrated with Bitcoin’s Lightning Network (LN), is free to use, and offers extensive documentation for getting set up.
BTCPay Server continues to expand its set of features, making it a viable alternative means of payment for merchants who want to add Bitcoin and altcoin support for their customers.