In the future, can Boundary-nodes play a VPN-like role in transit and encryption?

Dear respected and wise developers, hello, I am a long-term investor in ICP. In the process of following ICP for three years, I have always been confident in ICP and often pay attention to the progress of our roadmap. However, I still have some confusion about the future development of the ICP network, and I would like to ask you to explain it to me here.

I am a heavy internet user in mainland China. As is well known, there is a GFW in China’s internet due to certain reasons. Over more than ten years of development and upgrades, this firewall has become increasingly powerful, with unprecedented upgrades to both software and hardware. Today, it can block and control the access of all Chinese people to information on the global internet. As long as the website content contains criticism of the Chinese government or discussions of human rights, those links will be immediately blocked and censored. This is a severe case of information blockade and content censorship, as well as a form of totalitarian rule that George Orwell predicted. A recent incident involves an internet security expert, whose program-think blogger was tried and sentenced to imprisonment.

An influential Chinese blogger disappeared from the internet. This woman says she knows why

At present, to access Google, Twitter, and GitHub, we need to constantly change VPNs to briefly bypass the blockade.

I saw that ICP has a roadmap direction for opening up boundary nodes in the future,

Blockquote This feature enables NNS-driven deployment of boundary nodes, establishing a fully-automated installation and configuration process. The operating system, IC OS, currently used for replica nodes, will also be used for boundary nodes. This solution eliminates manual intervention by DFINITY Foundation employees and builds a basis for ongoing decentralization efforts.

I don’t understand the technical aspects of computer protocols, but I want to know, in layman’s terms, whether the opening of boundary nodes as research and development progresses will allow ordinary users to independently install them in their own homes, acting as a kind of relay and encryption, similar to VPNs, enabling users like us who are blocked by the GFW to access and reconnect to the global internet through these nodes? This function is crucial for us, but I don’t know if this VPN-like feature can be achieved through the opening of boundary nodes on the roadmap.

Thank you all for answering my questions.


基金会走的是合法线路图 会不会专门禁止中国边界节点?


The boundary nodes are being split into two pieces, the API boundary node and the HTTP Gateway.

The API boundary node is the one you mentioned above that will have NNS-driven deployments. It won’t be possible for most people to run an API boundary node, since it will have specific hardware requirements that will be quite expensive.

It will be very possible for anyone to run an HTTP Gateway from home though. The connection between the HTTP Gateway and the API boundary nodes will be encrypted, but I’m not sure if this is enough to deter the great firewall. The API boundary nodes that it communicates with will have domain names and IP addresses and these will be visible in your outgoing internet traffic. If the great firewall will only target individual websites then I think running a local HTTP Gateway will help, but if the great firewall targets the whole Internet Computer network then I think it won’t work.

I hope this helps to answer your question.


Thank you for your response.

Without targeting specific countries or regions, can we request the development of certain anti-censorship features in ICP’s roadmap for the community? We hope ICP can be as simple and distributed as the BitTorrent (BT) network, making it difficult to block.

In fact, there are already signs that the GFW is blocking ICP data center IP addresses. Access to OpenChat and NNS is becoming more and more laggy, often inaccessible, but it becomes very smooth when we connect to a VPN. MORA’s developer has also voluntarily blocked IP access from China due to concerns for their own safety, to avoid causing unnecessary trouble for their team.

As a world-class computer protocol, ICP should value and lead the spirit of internet freedom.

1 Like

You can of course request any feature that you like, but then it will be up to the community to decide if they want to vote for a feature or not.

I personally agree with your sentiment and I would vote for any feature that can help to resist censorship and promote the freedom of the IC’s userbase. I hope we can eventually build a system that’s truly unstoppable and cannot be silenced.


@NathanosDev Thank you for your righteous and enthusiastic reply.

We just discussed this topic in the OpenChat community, and many people are even willing to establish a DAO organization on the ICP platform to break through the GFW, attracting and recruiting more co-developers. Some members are willing to donate 100-200 ICP to the DAO, hoping to promote the development as soon as possible. We believe that the significance and role of this demand and the DAO to break through GFW are far greater than the $People who crowdfunded to purchase the U.S. Constitution on Ethereum.

We hope that more technical personnel will participate in this thread, and I am also willing to donate 20 ICP to the developer who can write this proposal.


What OpenChat group is this? I’d like to do what I can to help.


Ah ha, it’s just an Austrian school of economics chat group, consisting of some very loyal ICP holders. Everything hasn’t started yet.

1 Like