Liam Zebedee, a former protocol engineer at Synthetix and Keep Network, has created a tool called Dappnet that allows users to directly interact with sanctioned DApps like Tornado Cash that were made inaccessible from their main front ends.
Dappnet provides access to any blockchain application through a combination of IPFS — a peer-to-peer hypermedia and file sharing protocol — and the Ethereum Name Service, a blockchain-native naming service for wallet addresses and web domains. The application network by Zebedee essentially creates a decentralized frontend for any DApp.
Before Dappnet, the easiest way to access a blockchain application deployed on IPFS/ENS was via an ENS gateway that made UX simple for users. However, this solution is not without its flaws — since gateways are centralized, they are either censored or forced to comply with regulations. As an example, Zebedee mentioned two big gateways, eth.limo — a US-based law-compliant service — and eth.link, a now-defunct project by Virgil Griffith, a former Ethereum dev imprisoned for violating North Korean sanctions.
“This will happen, time and time again, because centralized servers don't work for decentralized apps. They either get censored, start enforcing restrictions because of political pressure, or run out of money,” Zebedee wrote on Twitter.
Dappnet solves the problem of gateway censorship by running a local IPFS node in the background while sharing the data in a peer-to-peer fashion with other IPFS nodes. Thanks to it, anyone can now access .eth domains like any other website without the need to configure anything.
“For users, that means frontends can’t be censored. For the first time, .eth becomes a signal for public infrastructure - a website that won’t disappear, a tool that is accessible forever,” Zebedee tweeted. “For protocols, that means greater operational freedom, security and workflows. An ENS frontend can be owned by a DAO, deployed and hosted permissionlessly.”
Moreover, the developer launched an NFT to commemorate the “death of DApp centralization.” “When decentralized frontends are ubiquitous, you will have proof that you were there when it started.”