Comparison: SAFE vs TOR

I would like to know what SAFE achieves that TOR does not related to privacy, anonymity and freedom?

I was looking for a comparison but I couldn’t find one, maybe we (the community) should make some beautiful charts comparing SAFE, with TOR, I2P, normal Internet etc…

[EDIT: for those wanting a summary I’ve added a, rather long :smile: TL;DR post below - @happybeing]

re TOR see
TOR is running on the open internet, trying to prove a negative, defending against attacks on a network that is not private; SAFE is secure and private by design and once it’s shown to work, will likely be the better option.


There have been discussions about this so you’ll find discussions by searching for Tor and/or VPN. There may also be some attempts at a comparison. From memory, there are pros and cons versus Tor (or there were at the time of the main discussions, but David had it in his mind to address the cons and I think the latest design may well have some changes with this in mind).

(I think this is a good question for the Wiki FAQ. @hillbicks - is there an official way to suggest additions/provide feedback for the wiki? If so, maybe describe this at the bottom of the main wiki page: “Feedback and Suggestions: help us improve this wiki” or something?)

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SAFE is the foundation for a whole new type of secure, p2p internet, with a secure, instant currency, while tor is just a way to try (not always successfully) to hide your IP on the current, big business-owned centralised internet


By the way: tor people are also researching on micropayments:

There is already a section in the Wiki FAQ about Tor vs SAFE :wink:

It could definitely be improved though.

:+1: for adding a page that describes how to contribute to the wiki :smiley:


SAFE offers distributed hosting. In TOR you can set up a hidden server, but it’s still centralized. With high level traffic analysis there are still tricks to figure out what the IP of the hidden server is. Incidentally, due to the distributed nature the bandwidth of SAFE will probably be much higher than in TOR, while still having the IP obfuscation that TOR has due to all the extra hops.


@frabrunelle thanks. This is odd…

There is already a section in the Wiki FAQ about Tor vs SAFE2

… cos I searched for Tor and didn’t find any mention! I’ll have to check that again.

I believe that question got deleted some time ago, but certainly a good one to add back when we’ve got a complete answer (together with Safe - Bitcoin technology, Ethereum, etc.)

Also I2P, because the people usually compare Safe with I2P. It should be in the FAQ.

Perhaps also need a comparison with DropBox, just for fun… and to alert businesses to the cost difference.

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I agree, we definitely need a way to succinctly compare all the different projects out there. I believe the trick lies in defining relevant and generic criteria so that we compare apples with apples and can tabulate the information, very few (other than the present company) will take the time to read a large amount of text based analysis. Such criteria might be: consensus model, can you store public and private data, encryption (at rest/in transit), deduplication Y/N, anonymity, programming language, license…etc…

If someone had time to pull this together it would be amazing, but failing that I’ll circle back and pick this up. It would be good to have. People like things that fit on one page :slight_smile: .


One of the better efforts in this area is though I expect they will only want to suggest what is available rather than consider too much of what SAFE will become. They appear to have a growing audience and throughput too, so worth alerting them once SAFE is up and into beta+. The data from there might be useful, though SAFE will span several areas and topics… a table v SAFE then showing how little each of those others offers where SAFE has it all would be fun to see.

Cheers @davidpbrown, it looks like a good resource, nice tip!

This might be obvious but I think we should throw in how SAFE is different than things like GnuPGP and so forth. I have a friend that is not at all impressed with self encryption because he can already encrypt with gpg.

Also how is safe different from etherium or project hyboria.

Encrypting with GPG one file at a time is all very well but it’s not the same as on the fly and in the background, in a way the user doesn’t need to consider. Etherium and others projects are at a different and higher level than the network they are based in… they could likely become based in the SAFE network and become simpler and faster.

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Possibly other interesting paper on tor:

First time poster, but feel compelled to bump this conversation back up.

Full disclosure, I just wrote this 10,000+ word guide to online privacy, anonymity and freedom: WordPress Hosting: WPX Hosting, but have not touched on SAFE vs TOR – so would hugely appreciated any feedback/suggestions from you guys. Don’t hesitate, I want to make this as all-encompassing a resource as possible to educate folks out there.


This might help:

Welcome @topherbeats and great work on that privacy guide. :thumbsup:

I think there’s a small piece on this in the wiki, so check that, but also worth reading the topic discussion and pulling nuggets out of that would be worthwhile, if anyone was so inclined :wink:

Tor aims to provide anonymity for people accessing the web and other internet services, and to allow anonymous provision of web and internet services, which are resistant to blocking and censorship. So: anonymity and unhindered access for users and providers / publishers on the existing internet infrastructure. It achieves this through a network of volunteer nodes which obfuscate the endpoints, provide an alternate anonymous DNS, and (I assume) encrypt as much of the traffic as possible. Motivation for providing nodes is largely philanthropic, and carries a small degree of risk because people running those nodes have sometimes been targeted by copyright holders or law enforcement for assisting illegal activity. There have been significant breaches of anonymity by law enforcement, but it isn’t clear if this was due to weaknesses in Tor itself or by other means, but there is significant uncertainty about how secure it is with relation to very powerful adversaries (particularly certain governments).

[I hope that’s a fair summary of Tor - I’m not a Tor expert, so if anyone is, please jump in to correct any errors or omissions.]

SAFE network has similar aims to those I’ve described for Tor with several significant differences:

  • it is designed to offer an alternative platform for internet style services, replacing as much as possible of the existing infrastructure with its own services (DNS, routing, SMTP, FTP, http), which are designed to be secure, anonymous and highly resistant to censorship and blocking (including DDoS) from the ground up. So it is not designed to interoperate directly with the existing internet: for example, it’s not for browsing the existing internet like Tor, it is a new very secure internet, that will host websites and other internet services in a secure anonymous, almost completely self contained alternative. However, the user experience will not be so different - existing browsers will access it just with a plugin for example. Run SAFE apps directly from the network, store and load data securely to and from the network with existing apps/programs via a virtual drive mounted on the host OS etc. This approach, secure and anonymous from the ground up, will I believe provid a high degree of confidence in the effectiveness and degree of anonymity provided by SAFEnetwork. Similarly, removing it’s reliance on existing internet services and protocols, and replacing them with a very large number of simple decentralised nodes that perform multiple, frequently changing roles within a constantly changing topology - makes it impractical for almost any adversary to identify, characterise, or block SAFE activity and services.

  • being an alternative internet, SAFEnetwork has a much broader remit than Tor - and so includes several other key underlying features from the start (storage, communications, universal anonymous login/identity, virtual drive, web hosting, cryptocurrency, wallet, and application platform), but which will also be extended in time (e.g. smart contracts, distributed computation for example)

  • SAFEnetwork is also served by volunteer nodes but these are not reliant on philanthropy, because by providing resources to the network each node is rewarded using the built in cryptocurrency. This token (Safecoin) can in turn can be used to purchase services directly from the network (e.g. storage) or for on network transactions between users and apps/service providers. Being a secure but non blockchain currency, Safecoin can handle very high transaction rates, and scales automatically with the network. It is also designed to be “farmable” by anyone, so easily accessible and widely distributed, rather than becoming centralised.

Well maybe a bit more than a TL;DR! :smile:

Hope that helps.