Comparison: SAFE vs TOR

We don’t know what will be the risk of running a SAFE node either. IMO, it’s difficult at this point to compare Tor and SAFE beyond the infrastructure because SAFE isn’t running yet and we don’t know which vulnerabilities might pop up especially when interfacing with existing browsers through plugins, etc.

That said, I agree with all of your statements about Tor, @happybeing. I would emphasize the dual relationship the network has for people. Hidden services are services hosted on servers part of the Tor network which is where stronger anonymity properties lie. The added use case of bridging to the normal internet through exit nodes is what a majority of people use it for to obfuscate their IP address for privacy or avoid censorship. It’s also worth noting that Tor has directory authorities which through consensus, manage a listing of public routing nodes for clients to connect to - backbone nodes if you will. With these directory authorities, it’s easy to blacklist certain nodes that are attacking the network (ie. if many nodes are being set up from the same IP) but since there’s only like 10 or so of these backbone nodes, they become vulnerable points for attacking the network as a whole. If those backbone nodes go down, Tor becomes very weak as they are the main sources for connecting into the network and finding routing nodes. If a majority are compromised, they can change the listing of nodes maliciously. Tor Bridges allow direct connections to non-public nodes which offer a way around needing these backbone nodes to connect (for example if you live in China which blocks all of these backbone nodes) but it’s a manual process to figure out which non-public nodes are available.

In SAFE there are hardcoded nodes in a bootstrap file for clients to initially connect to the network. It works more like (but not the same as) bittorrent node discovery where nodes know about other nearby nodes which know about other nearby nodes and so on allowing the connecting client to discover which are it’s closest nodes to connect to.

Let me give a shot at a TL;DR -
Both Tor and SAFE are anonymity overlay networks but a main point in the SAFE philosophy is that servers are insecure and create most of the privacy and security problems we have with the existing internet (including Tor). They both have multi-hop routing to provide anonymity but SAFE goes beyond that to also distribute where data is stored. A DHT-based consensus mechanism is used in SAFE to provide integrity of data and nodes. This also enables non-blockchain cryptographically secured tokens (safecoin) which act as a mechanism to incentivize hosting a node while also preventing taking advantage of the “free” storage by requiring a safecoin payment to upload new data.