In brief

  • Brave has made its websites available on Tor.
  • Tor is a gateway to the dark web.
  • Brave produced a guide explaining how you can do it, too.

The crypto-friendly web browser Brave today announced another integration with the privacy-first gateway to the dark web, Tor: it’s made its Brave pages viewable from the dark web

Tor is a browser that lets you access .onion links. This is the so-called dark web, on which lie black markets filled with the best illegal drugs Bitcoin can buy. But the dark web isn’t just black markets and Bitcoin; it’s also used by activists, researchers, and journalists in parts of the world with restrictive Internet policies. Tor is able to do this by bouncing your search requests around a bunch of relays, set up all over the world, to obscure your identity.

Brave, a competitor to Google Chrome, has integrated Tor into its browser since 2018. It also runs some of those relays. Today, it announced that it has put Brave websites on the dark web—and Ben Kero, Devops Engineer at Brave, produced a handy guide explaining how to do this.

Brave having its own Tor address means that all of Brave’s websites are accessible straight from the dark web. Instead of Brave.com, it’s Brave.onion. This site protects its users' metadata, such as its location.

Here’s how Kero did it: First, he “mined” an address on the onion network; this means to create a private key by expending computational resources. Brave used a mid-range graphics card, a GTX1080, to do the job. It took the team 15 minutes.

Then, they got a .onion address, as well as a private key “that allows us to advertise we are ready and able to receive traffic sent to this address,” wrote Kero. 

After mining the address, Brave booted up the Enterprise Onion Toolkit, which lets people proxy traffic to regular domains on brave.com. 

Once that was done, the team set up an SSL certificate, which certifies that domains are secure and information sent across them is encrypted. Ever seen the “Your connection is not private” pages on Chrome? That’s what happens if a website doesn’t have the certificate.

And now that you know how, you can do it, too.

Brave’s no stranger to privacy-first technology. Its crypto-friendly browser rewards people with crypto for watching advertisements. It also rewards content creators. In this, it’s taken on Google, which sells your data to other people. 

The company came under fire for creating donation pages for content creators who had never signed up for the platform and then pocketing the money. It also drew criticism in June when the firm redirected searches to top cryptocurrency exchanges to affiliate links.