Tor is one of the flag bearers of privacy and anonymity on today’s internet. The browser cum decentralized network is used by people to bypass censorship across the globe. Unfortunately, the Tor network is seeing a decrease in the number of private Tor relays or Bridges that play a major role in hiding people’s identity.
The Tor Project, which maintains the browser and the network, revealed that Tor currently has about 1,200 bridges, 900 of which support the obfs4 obfuscation protocol. These help people living in restrictive countries like China, Belarus, Iran, and Kazakhstan to access the open internet.
However, the bridge count has decreased since this year and the organization needs 200 obfs4 bridges to be up and live by the end of January 7, 2022.
Hence, Tor Project is now asking interested users to step in and host servers at their disposal. Tor will reward these people in the form of some branded goodies. For instance, if someone hosts 10 obfs4 bridges for a year, they’ll get a Golden Gate reward kit with 1 Tor hoodie, 2 Tor T-shirts, and a stickers pack.
Furthermore, each of these goodies will be given after the user runs bridges for a specified number of months. You can claim your goodie by commenting on the Bridges topic on the Tor forum or by emailing them.
Similarly, people hosting fewer servers will get different tokens of appreciation, called Helix Bridge University Bridge, and Rialto bridge respectively. You can read the official blog post (via Gizmodo) to know about the technical requirements to run a Tor Bridge.
Also, check out our guide on whether it’s safe to use Tor without a VPN or not.