A VPN protects you from data harvesting website operators by hiding your identity behind their VPN server. However, by doing so they establish themselves as just another central data honeypot that regularly leaks everyone’s entire browsing history and other connection metadata of their users. HOPR does not have any central point of failure, trust or control and as such you do not even need to trust us because we do not operate the HOPR network. As long as one (out of typically three) relayers that send your data to the recipient is doing their job well, the connection data remain private. HOPR provides additional layers of data privacy protection by mixing packets along the route and making all packets look indistinguishable from one another. This is how HOPR establishes privacy in unprecedented ways.
The name HOPR (pronounced Hopper) came from the fact that metadata exchanged by our users will, essentially, “hop” from node to node, ensuring complete privacy. You can read more about the background of HOPR from our co-founder, Rik Krieger, here.
HOPR is at the early stages of technical development, but we’re moving fast. We had our first public testnet just one week after our funding announcement. (You can read more about it here.) While packet mixing is a core aspect of a mixnet, it is not the most critical development milestone. We’re focused on delivering working software to our community first, before enabling the more technical features which we’ve already developed in a way that doesn’t break the UX. We plan for a mainnet release in late 2021.
The HOPR protocol provides network-level and metadata privacy for every kind of data exchange, while introducing the first-ever open incentivized mixnet, where anyone can earn tokens for running nodes. HOPR’s incentivized mixnets is possible with the advent of blockchains with on-chain capabilities to run advanced layer-2 scaling solutions. And we have a capable team 😉.
The project raised USD $1M from Binance Labs and other investors in our seed financing round. (Read more here.) The team feels honored to be Binance’s first investment of the year – particularly during a pandemic – which didn't happen until July of 2020. They have shown a lot of faith in HOPR and we appreciate that :).
Sebastian and Robert first met the Binance team during the Ethereum Community Conference (EthCC) in February 2019 in Paris. We learned about their Fellowship that supports open source projects and were glad to be chosen for their Binance-X Fellowship.