Tor sells NFT of first .onion URL for $2 million in ETH to PleasrDAO

In short

  • The Tor Project sold an NFT illustration of the first .onion URL for $2 million.
  • The buyer is PleasrDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization that invests in NFTs aligned with its decentralization philosophy.

The Tor Project, the nonprofit that runs its privacy-preserving web browser, on Friday sold an NFT illustration of the private cryptographic key used to create Dusk, the first Tor onion service, for $2 million in ETH. Proceeds will support the nonprofit.

The buyer of the coin, sold on NFT marketplace Foundation, is PleasrDAO, a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) that pools money through smart contracts to acquire NFT art that advances the cause of decentralization.

“This piece marries so many things that are important to us: artwork, privacy and cypherpunk ethos,” said Red Phone, an anonymous PleasrDAO member. Decrypt.

“It’s humbling to be involved, to have a little work of art that honors all that this technology has done for freedom.”

The Tor project, set up in 2006 by computer scientists Roger Dingledine, Nick Mathewson and five others, provides access to websites with “.onion” domains, commonly known as the dark web. Its Tor browser, now used by around 2.25 million people every day, pings web traffic through relays spread around the world to mask user activity.

The first .onion website was duskgytldkxiuqc6.onion, or “Dusk”, which is often used as an example of a .onion domain in Tor documentation. The NFT, created by Itzel Yard, is a generative artwork based on Dusk.

PleasrDAO will also take over ownership of the private key. But Dusk, the private key, will soon become just a relic: Tor plans to retire the browser version that supports the key.

Isabela Bagueros, executive director of the Tor Project, said Decrypt that the association wanted to commemorate a piece of decentralized Internet history.

Bagueros said the nonprofit was eager to sell its own NFT after witnessing the success of the Press Freedom Association’s auction of the “Stay Free” NFT article from Edward Snowden; PleasrDAO bought this NFT for $5.4 million last month.

“We had no expectations regarding [the] sale price and are blown away by the generosity of PleasrDAO and all auction participants,” Bagueros said.

The nonprofit will use a portion of the proceeds from the sale of NFT to improve its network security and support grassroots work in privacy training. Tor will also donate some of the money to organizations that boost online privacy or fight climate change.

The other highest bidder was Jesse Powell, the CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange kraken. His final bid was 420.69 ETH – an ironic reference to 4/20, slang for a celebration of marijuana culture and the obscene number of 69.

Powell also took on PleasrDAO at the Snowden NFT Auction. “It’s good to see him back, and maybe he was a track horse all along – forcing us to bid higher for a good cause,” Santiago R. Santos, general partner at the investment firm crypto ParaFi Capital and member of PleasrDAO, Told Decrypt.

“I think we’re at a tipping point for a new creative renaissance at the intersection of the sharing economy and passion,” Santos said. “It is fueled by the unique properties of digital scarcity and global pools of capital moving at the speed of information.”

“DeFi laid the tracks and DAOs are the trains.”

Top 5 crypto news and features in your inbox every day.

Get Daily Digest for the best of Decrypt. News, original features and more.

Comments are closed.