General FAQ

How Does MASQ Work?


How does MASQ Compare?

General FAQ

What is the MASQ Network?

The MASQ Network is privacy ecosystem built on a one-of-a-kind mesh network - designed to leverage the fundamental concepts of encrypted VPN and mesh network routing (similar to Tor concepts). Utilizing decentralized mesh routing, MASQ provides privacy and uncensored content on the internet, with no reliance on traditional VPN and Tor Protocols.

MASQ offers this through a software suite, including the MASQ web3 privacy browser (based on current Chromium version maintained in Electron) and a standalone MASQ Core networking software which can be run on various devices or environments.

Is there a working product?


MASQ Network has a live testnet on Polygon Amoy and the MASQ Browser beta software is available for download at https://masqbrowser.com

Additionally, the MASQ Core software is an open source codebase, where the development is constantly undergoing various stress tests to ensure stability up to full beta Mainnet release to the public.

Technically, any advanced user can use the software at present time if they have some command line experience (CLI) - check out the guide.

Once a user creates a network, they are assigned a Node ID (also known as a public node descriptor) which will then be used to allow other users to connect directly to your node.

Routing automatically takes place once there are 6 or more nodes connected together in a mesh through the MASQ Network protocol.

What platforms does MASQ support?

Since the MASQ Node core software is written entirely in Rust, it will compile on almost any Operating System. The team supports pre-compiled beta releases for MacOS, Linux and Windows.

Future supported platforms will be released, supported by community contributors, such as Raspberry Pi and other Linux flavours. If you are a developer who wants to test and compile on other systems, please contact the team so you can actively contribute to development.

How can I see Development activity?

The MASQ Activity Board acts as a living roadmap showing progress on current items across the protocol:


Since the codebase is open source the best place you can also check out the MASQ GitHub and the project board there.

You can also join the official Telegram and Discord channels

How will MASQ impact the world and web3 space?

Where to start?! - the possibilities are truly vast, but some major impacts on the forefront would be:

  1. MASQ is built to allow users to explore a truly web3 browser providing a rich digital experience.

  2. The MASQ Network, once live, will grow to a point where it cannot be shutdown. No large entity or Government could censor the network from allowing users to access the freedom of the entire Internet.

  3. Enables citizens in the most repressive countries to regain access to one of our most fundamental human rights – the free flow of information. For example, a user in China would be able to access Google, Netflix, YouTube, news media outlets and more.

  4. Allows users to use the features of the MASQ Network without being easily detected by oppressive regimes (which is a common issue with VPNs and Tor)

  5. Provide an uncensored platform for journalists to be able to communicate and send/receive content.

  6. Provide a foundational network layer for other dapps and communication protocols to be built as an ecosystem.

Who can benefit from the MASQ Network technology?

The unique qualities of the MASQ Network provide value for many types of users.

Some of these are:

  1. Users who want to retake their online privacy while browsing!

  2. Users who want an alternative to traditional centralized subscription based VPN services, and Tor browsing which is easily identified by data traffic inspection

  3. Users who want to gain privacy features while request content online that is normally not retrievable to them due to geo-restrictions.

  4. Users who reside in a generally unrestricted region, but want to support internet freedom and fight censorship.

  5. Users who want to earn passive income from running a Node and collecting crypto by routing traffic to other Nodes.

What is a mesh network?

A mesh network is a local network topology in which individual computers connect directly, dynamically and non-hierarchically to many other computers or "nodes". These nodes cooperate with one another to efficiently route data to/from clients. (Wikipedia)

MASQ is most accurate described as a dMeshVPN

In context, when you use the MASQ Network, you connect with 4-5 others and route traffic between yourselves dynamically to complete each others data requests. Unlike VPNs, which connect to only one other computer on a secure tunnel network.

How does the MASQ Network actually work?

MASQ Network uses 'hops' between nodes to pass your encrypted data anonymously from one user to another. The data packets are transmitted through the network while maintaining utmost privacy and anonymity along the entire route. These hops are integral to allowing a user to retrieve content that is not available in their geolocation, but is readily served in a distant Node's region.

Your data is encrypted, as such, only the final destination knows what the request directed to, but not the contents - all Nodes passing on your data cannot see what is inside. This provides maximum privacy while hiding the origin and destination from the routing nodes.

Currently in the MASQ Network routing, when a user requests content it is retrieved by an exit node 3 hops away, and delivered back through a route across the MASQ mesh network. The route back is often using different nodes so the journey is even less hard to detect any patterns of traffic! Each node on the route (2 relay hops and the final exit node) all earn utility tokens for providing these routing and exit services, and the user requesting it will pay for consuming based on data consumed and time outstanding on debts owed.

Can I earn $MASQ utility tokens?

Yes. MASQ software is designed in a way to reward users supporting the MASQ network with their bandwidth. As a user serves content to other Nodes, they earn MASQ tokens as compensation for their services. Additionally, MASQ is the crypto fuel for securing the MASQ Network monetization model, and is an ERC20 utility token currently on Ethereum and Polygon blockchains.

Does it cost anything to run MASQ?

Currently the softwares are running on Polygon Amoy testnet, so it uses tMASQ test tokens which have no value. Any user can download the MASQ Browser or download the open source core software (MASQ Node)

However there are MASQ Premium features in the Browser which provide an enhanced and unique experience, and these can be accessed by holding $MASQ tokens on Ethereum or Polygon

Currently, the modelling for mainnet is based on fixed rates of $MASQ per packet and byte of data.

In the future free market dynamics will be added where users can choose their min and max rates for serving and consuming data.

Initial pricing mechanisms will be revealed on public beta launch.

When I run MASQ, will my ISP be able to see what I do?

Like most common HTTP/S traffic from your web browser, your ISP will only be able to detect normal data traffic going to other IP addresses on the MASQ Network. This is similar to how your traffic would go to a VPN server, but often ISPs can search those VPN servers online and conclude you are using those services. Since MASQ Network is a network of pseudo-anonymous users, there is no connection to anything unusual.

Your data is encrypted and routed elsewhere in the network, thus your data request is not visible or open to interception in any way which could reveal where your request is going.

How is MASQ different from VPN services (Virtual Private Network)?

MASQ Network currently operates above the level of a VPN, without many of the weaknesses seen today.

Unlike traditional VPN services, MASQ software is NOT an end-to-end client-to-server solution where you are simply connected to one other user. Since it operates as a mesh network, a user is connected to many Nodes securely, and this allows more privacy and access to more worldwide content.

Also, users can use MASQ without a subscription, and can just pay with the MASQ utility token as they browse with their MASQ software active.

See Encryption Methods in our Core Concepts

How is MASQ different from Tor?

The main difference with Tor, is that data used on the Tor network is identifiable as being from Tor nodes, therefore isn't exactly hidden from any watchdogs or malicious parties. Further, exit nodes for Tor are on a public list. Some regions and ISPs block these nodes so users are not able to get their data requests using the Tor network

Technical Level

MASQ Node carries only TLS connections between the browser and the server, not between the exit Node and the server the way Tor does. This means that establishing TLS connections is slightly slower for Node than for Tor, but that:

  • even an evil, compromised exit Node still can't see your unencrypted data, the way a Tor exit node can; and

  • it's much more difficult to hold you legally responsible for data that passes through your Node because you can prove you couldn't have seen it.

See Encryption Methods in our Core Concepts

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