5 Open-Source Projects You Can Donate to via Kivach, Episode IV: Privacy Toolsby@obyte
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5 Open-Source Projects You Can Donate to via Kivach, Episode IV: Privacy Tools

by ObyteNovember 13th, 2023
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Discover five open-source privacy tools safeguarding your digital presence. Supported by Kivach's cryptocurrency donations on Obyte, these tools include Signal for encrypted messaging, GrapheneOS for secure mobile operating systems, Pi-hole for network-wide ad-blocking, WireGuard for VPN security, and Cryptomator for client-side encrypted cloud storage. Kivach's unique platform allows seamless support, eliminating middlemen fees and ensuring your contributions directly empower these crucial privacy initiatives.

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Our online privacy is at stake these days. Big companies are trying to get our personal information everywhere, and that could lead to data leaks, blackmailing, spam emails, phishing, scams, etc. Not protecting our data isn’t protecting ourselves. So, this time, we’ll talk about five open-source and free-to-use privacy tools that you can support via Kivach.

As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, Kivach is a powerful and user-friendly charity platform based in Obyte. It’s designed to donate cryptocurrencies to open-source projects on GitHub. Besides, it possesses a unique feature: the recipients have the option to donate a percentage of donations to other open-source projects, automatically. This way, the crypto donation would flow like a cascade, and expensive middlemen fees (e.g., Patreon or PayPal) would be eliminated.

Let’s look into some interesting privacy tools that you can use for free, and that may receive your support via Kivach.

1. Signal

This is a highly regarded open-source messaging app known for its commitment to user privacy and security. It was launched in 2014 by cryptographer Moxie Marlinspike and Brian Acton, a WhatsApp co-founder. The app's user base has steadily grown over the years, reaching around 40 million users worldwide by 2022.

Signal's standout feature is its end-to-end encryption, which ensures that only the intended recipient can decrypt and read messages. It offers text messaging, voice, and video calls, as well as the ability to send multimedia messages. Signal also provides features like disappearing messages, group chats, and support for voice and video conferences. Its commitment to open-source development and privacy-focused design has earned Signal a loyal and expanding user base, including individuals, activists, journalists, and those concerned about their online privacy.

Currently, Signal is maintained by the nonprofit Signal Technology Foundation. The app is completely free to download and use on mobile devices (Android & iOS) or desktop machines (Windows, Linux, and macOS). They welcome donations in numerous national currencies and also in cryptocurrencies. You can donate to them using Kivach, where they appear as signalapp/signal-android, signalapp/signal-desktop, signalapp/signal-server, and signalapp/signal-ios.

2. GrapheneOS

GrapheneOS is a privacy-focused and security-centric open-source operating system designed for mobile devices. It was created in 2014 by Daniel Micay, a highly regarded security researcher and developer. GrapheneOS places a strong emphasis on enhancing the security and privacy of Android smartphones and has gained popularity among users seeking a more secure mobile experience.

GrapheneOS includes features such as a security-hardened kernel (the connection between hardware and software), fine-grained permission controls, enhanced encryption, and regular security updates. It provides a more secure environment for smartphone users and aims to protect against a wide range of potential threats, including surveillance and unauthorized data access. For this reason, it doesn’t offer Google apps or services natively. They’re only available through a sandboxed compatibility layer.

Funding for GrapheneOS primarily comes from user donations, sponsorships, and community support, allowing it to remain independent and focused on user privacy and security. They accept PayPal, wire transfers, GitHub Sponsors, and several cryptocurrencies. You can help them with Kivach too: grapheneos/vanadium.

3. Pi-hole

This is an ad-blocker software specially designed for small, energy-efficient devices like Raspberry Pi. It was initially created by Jacob Salmela in 2014 and has since grown into a widely used project with contributions from the open-source community on GitHub. Unlike other ad-blockers, Pi-hole can block ads and tracking domains in a whole network, like a firewall. Besides Raspberry Pi, it’s also available for Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and CentOS Stream.

It maintains an extensive blocklist of known ad-serving domains and can be customized to filter additional content. Pi-hole's user base spans tech-savvy individuals, families, and organizations seeking to reduce the intrusion of online ads and protect against potential malware. After installation, it’s necessary to set Pi-hole as the computer’s DNS server, and it’s also possible to pair it with a VPN to use it remotely —for instance, in a smartphone.

The project runs entirely on donations. They accept funds via Patreon, GitHub Sponsors, Google Play, PayPal, and several cryptocurrencies. You can use the latter option through Kivach, where you’ll find them as pi-hole/pi-hole.

4. WireGuard

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a technology that creates a secure, encrypted connection over the Internet, protecting your online privacy and data by masking your IP address and routing your traffic through a remote server. That’s what WireGuard does as a completely free-to-use app for Windows, macOS, Linux, Ubuntu, Android, iOS, and other operating systems.

It was created by Jason A. Donenfeld and first released in 2015. WireGuard has rapidly gained popularity for its simplicity, robust security, and speed, making it a go-to choice for individuals and organizations seeking a reliable VPN solution. It is known for its minimalistic codebase, making it easier to audit for security vulnerabilities. That’s why a long list of commercial VPN brands have chosen it as a connection protocol.

The WireGuard team accepts donations via PayPal, GitHub Sponsors, Patreon, Liberapay, Bitcoin, and Stripe. You can also send them more cryptocurrencies through the Counterstake Bridge and Kivach, where they’re available as wireguard/wireguard-go.

5. Cryptomator

CryptoMator is an open-source encryption software that provides secure, client-side encryption for cloud storage services. It was created in 2014 by Sebastian Stenzel for personal use and later launched to the public with the German company Skymatic GmbH. CryptoMator's user base comprises individuals, professionals, and organizations looking to enhance the privacy and security of their files stored in the cloud.

Key features of CryptoMator include end-to-end encryption, which ensures that files are encrypted on the client side and remain private even when stored on third-party cloud services like Dropbox or Google Drive. The software is available on various platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android, making it versatile for users across different devices. However, it’s important to note that only desktop versions are free to use.

The only thing you’ll need to get started is installing the software and creating a password. No more complex steps are required. To support the free version, they accept donations via PayPal, credit card, bank transfers, and CoinPayments. If you want to avoid all the middlemen fees involved on these platforms, you can use Kivach to send them cryptocurrencies. They appear as cryptomator/cryptomator.

Bonus: Blackbytes

To reach a good level of privacy, you’ll need to combine several privacy tools. We offer you another one in Obyte: its privacy coin, Blackbytes (GBB). This is an asset designed to be used exclusively for P2P, anonymously, and outside centralized cryptocurrency exchanges. To make private transactions, GBB divides the internal data of its transactions into two parts. One part is publicly available and registered in the DAG as an undecipherable hash.

The rest of the related information (amount, involved addresses, dates, parent transactions, etc.) is sent directly to the recipient(s) via end-to-end encrypted private message. Therefore, only the involved users have this data on their own devices (in the form of a digital file), offline. Blackbytes can also be sent online.

You can buy and sell Blackbytes through the Obyte wallet and several integrated chatbots (Chat Tab – Bot Store – Exchange). Additionally, just to increase your privacy level, you can enable the browser Tor from your wallet, by adjusting your Global Preferences (Settings).

Remember to tell them!

If you’re going to send some cryptocurrencies via Kivach to any open-source project of your preference, don’t forget to tell them about the donation. Initially, they may not know that they received something. If they don’t have an Obyte wallet yet, they’ll need to download it and pass through a GitHub attestation (Chat Tab – Bot Store – GitHub Attestation Bot) to verify their GitHub account and claim the funds.

Besides, consider that you can explore open-source projects on GitHub yourself and make suggestions to appear in our next list! Please comment on them below, on our Telegram channel, or via Discord. You can also read our previous episodes to discover more interesting software:

Featured Vector Image by jcomp / Freepik