Users running Umbrel Bitcoin (BTC) and Lightning nodes can now also help others to bypass internet censorship by installing the Snowflake proxy app on their nodes. It might help censored journalists and other people to access the free and open internet safely.
Umbrel OS is a popular Bitcoin & Lightning Network node implementation that allows users to independently audit Bitcoin Network, open and manage Lightning Network channels, install and access a variety of Bitcoin and Lightning apps, as well as non-bitcoin-related applications aimed at improving user’s privacy, data access, and security.
Bitcoin node software developer Umbrel released version 0.4.15 on March 1 in which developers added three new apps to the Umbrel App store – decentralized BTC mixer Joinmarket (simplified interface via Jam app), Snowflake Tor Proxy, as well as Bleskomat Bitcoin & Lightning ATM software. Following the upgrade, Umbrel App Store now contains 43 Bitcoin, Lightning, and related security and privacy-enhancing applications that can be installed and run on your personal node.
As the war in Ukraine rages on and the aggressor, Russia, strengthens censorship in the country, one of the more interesting apps there is Snowflake Tor Proxy, allowing activists and individuals at risk access free and open internet in a privacy-friendly environment.
“Snowflake is a system to defeat internet censorship. People who are censored can use Snowflake to access the internet. Their connection goes through Snowflake proxies, which are run by volunteers,” states the app description.
Upon installation, users are not required to take any further actions and can simply leave the program running.
“If your internet access is not censored, you should consider running a Snowflake proxy to help users in censored networks. There is no need to worry about which websites people are accessing through your proxy. Their visible browsing IP address will match their Tor exit node, not yours,” adds the proxy’s description.
How to run Umbrel Bitcoin node
Umbrel OS-based Bitcoin and Lightning personal server (node) can be installed either on a Raspberry Pi 4 4GB RAM or more and 1TB or more SSD. Users that are willing to experiment or can’t get their hands on Raspberry 4 can also install Umbrel on any Linux-based OS system such as Ubuntu or Debian, or a virtual machine on macOS or Windows to Umbrel. More information on how to install and run a personal Umbrel node can be found at the official project’s website.
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