VPNs are essential privacy tools whose demand is increasing. According to stats, over 30% of netizens will use a VPN. More than half of the population uses a VPN to protect their digital privacy on public Wi-Fi. Others also use a VPN to bypass bandwidth throttling, browse anonymously, access blocked sites, and circumvent censorship. However, not all VPNs are created equally. Thus, it is vital to understand the differences between VPNs so it's easy to make an informed decision. For example, users avoid free VPN providers because of their limited features and poor security.
Traditional VPNs are another type of VPN called centralized VPNs (cVPNs). They depend on centralized servers to send and receive data. Since the information is stored in a single location, it is easy for hackers to compromise the information.
A new type of VPN has already marked its way into the industry and solves problems in other VPNs. These are blockchain-based VPNs called decentralized VPNs. They consist of nodes like the Tor network. Each node acts as a client and server, giving users complete control over their data. The decentralized private network or the P2P network pulls out the third part, the weakest point in any network, and prevents threat actors from misusing the data.
What Are Decentralized VPNs?
Decentralized VPNs are much better than traditional VPN providers. The benefits of dVPN are more than the traditional ones, with a clear difference in enhanced security and transparency in data transmission. The following are the advantages of using a decentralized VPN:
Improved Speeds With No Downtime
Decentralized VPNs are more efficient than traditional VPNs. The cVPNs allow specific servers and create network congestion or slow internet speed. However, VPNs comprise many nodes to connect and enable users to choose their own devices for connection, and they have little or no room for a slow internet connection at any time.
Traditional VPNs log minimum data on their servers. The data, like the IP address, includes connection timestamp or browsing data, and is personal. The decentralized VPNs log data on the user's device, meaning it won't leave. However, they partially mask the IP addresses, so if anyone else expects you to use the VPN, both parties' data and identities remain secure.
Affinity to Blockchain
Decentralized VPNs are built around blockchain technology, so the efficiency and security of the blockchain networks are built-in with these services. This affinity allows the developers to improve their infrastructure. Moreover, they can patch bugs faster and more efficiently and add more features to the existing infrastructure.
Centralized VPN providers are closed source, meaning that users do not understand how they function or if they are encrypting their data or practicing a strict no-log policy. As a result, users have no choice but to trust the VPN provider. In contrast, dVPNs are open-source, and anyone understanding blockchain technology can access the source code on GitHub and analyze it to ensure that no logs are kept.
Another benefit of using decentralized VPNs is that they are cost-effective. Traditional VPNs come with monthly, biannual, and yearly subscription plans. The prices might vary, and at times, the prices are way too high compared to the services the VPN providers offer. On the other hand, dVPNs have no subscription charges, and purchasing the device is the only cost to the users.
Prone to Censorship
One of the biggest drawbacks of using traditional VPNs is that they are controlled by the authorities to follow the rules established by the citizens where the servers are located. This usually happens in countries where the state owns the internet. As a result, users can't use VPNs in specific locations like China. But, while using dVPNs, users won't experience any such issue. The dVPN nodes are hosted by community members who are not bound to follow government regulations and, hence, can bypass any restriction.
Are Decentralized VPNs the Future of Privacy?
There are some fundamental weaknesses present in the structure of centralized VPNs. The closed source or cVPNs are not examined by unbiased security experts, leading to security risks that put users' data at risk and even damage the company's reputation. Even the most reliable centralized VPNs can be the target of cyber-criminals and vulnerable to exploitation and government interference.
However, decentralized VPN servers are easier to compromise than the Tor nodes. Hackers have to compromise only one node in the connection. They identify the users' profiles and set up their notes to target potential users.
Many users think using decentralized VPNs is a better option because they collect cryptocurrency payments, which is something to trust and keeps their identity anonymous. However, this won't increase transparency as accepting payments recorded on the blockchain does nothing to make the malicious nodes easier to identify. Furthermore, if anonymity is the main concern, several centralized VPN providers accept payments via cryptocurrency.
With the emergence of decentralized VPNs and Web3, online privacy and security have reached their full potential. Users are confident that their data is well encrypted, protected, and not shared with any third party.
Decentralized VPNs are the game changer compared to traditional VPN providers and are the ideal choice for providing maximum benefits and anonymity on the web. However, they are not practically perfect to use, and there are several reasons for this. Thus, users must rely on dVPNs and find a suitable VPN provider that offers maximum speed and protection depending on their needs.