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We configure Tor to run your node anonymously.

Table of contents

  1. Tor Project
  2. Installing Tor

Running your own Bitcoin and Lightning node at home makes you a direct, sovereign peer on the Bitcoin network. If not configured without privacy in mind, it also tells the world that there is someone with Bitcoin at that address. True, it’s only your IP address that is visible to others, but using services like, your physical address can be determined quite accurately.

Especially with Lightning, your IP address is widely used, so we need to make sure that you keep your privacy.

Tor Project

We will use Tor, a free software built by the Tor Project, that allows you to anonymize internet traffic by routing it through a network of nodes, hiding your location and usage profile.

It is called “Tor” for “The Onion Router”: information is encrypted multiple times with the public keys of the nodes it passes through. Each node decrypts the layer of information that corresponds to its own private key, knowing only the last and next hop of the route, like peeling an onion, until the data reaches its destination.

Installing Tor

Log in your RaspiBolt via SSH as user “admin”.

  • Add the following two lines to sources.list to add the torproject repository.

    $ sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
    deb buster main
    deb-src buster main
  • In order to verify the integrity of the Tor files, download and add the signing keys of the torproject.

    $ sudo apt install dirmngr apt-transport-https
    $ curl | gpg --import
    $ gpg --export A3C4F0F979CAA22CDBA8F512EE8CBC9E886DDD89 | sudo apt-key add -
  • The latest version of Tor can now be installed.

    $ sudo apt update
    $ sudo apt install tor
  • Check the version of Tor (it should be or newer) and that the service is up and running.

    $ tor --version
    > Tor version
    $ systemctl status tor
  • Check that within the “tor-service-defaults-torrc” file the “User” name is “debian-tor”.

    $ cat /usr/share/tor/tor-service-defaults-torrc
    > User debian-tor
  • Make sure that user “bitcoin” belongs to the “debian-tor” group.

    $ sudo adduser bitcoin debian-tor
    $ cat /etc/group | grep debian-tor
    > debian-tor:x:114:bitcoin
  • Modify the Tor configuration by uncommenting (removing the #) or adding the following lines.

    $ sudo nano /etc/tor/torrc
    # uncomment:
    ControlPort 9051
    CookieAuthentication 1
    # add:
    CookieAuthFileGroupReadable 1
  • Restart Tor to activate modifications

    $ sudo systemctl restart tor

Not all network traffic is routed over the Tor network. But we now have the base to configure sensitive applications to use it.

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