October 6, 2022
ArtemisDiana/Shutterstock.com Decentralized VPNs promise to be the upgrade to existing, standard VPN services. They claim to offer better privacy at lower prices than their traditional counterparts, while also improving the internet as a whole. To see how they plan to deliver on these promises, we need to understand how decentralized VPNs work. How Are Decentralized…

ArtemisDiana/Shutterstock.com

Decentralized VPNs promise to be the upgrade to existing, standard VPN services. They claim to offer better privacy at lower prices than their traditional counterparts, while also improving the internet as a whole. To see how they plan to deliver on these promises, we need to understand how decentralized VPNs work.

How Are Decentralized VPNs Different?

The best way to get an initial impression of how decentralized VPNs (often called dVPNs or even DPNs) work is to compare them to how regular VPNs work. Under old-school rules, a VPN provider will rent or buy a number of VPN servers and then let customers make use of them for a subscription fee, usually paid monthly or annually.

Decentralized VPNs do away with that paradigm. Instead of using machines in server farms, dVPNs use the devices of their users instead as so-called nodes. You’re not accessing the internet through a server, instead you’re using somebody else’s computer, which acts like a server for your connection.

In practice, this doesn’t work all that differently than a regular VPN: you’re still getting…

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