DarkIRC: Strong Anonymity P2P Chat

In DarkFi, we organize our communication using resilient and censorship-resistant infrastructure. For chatting, ircd is a peer-to-peer implementation of an IRC server in which any user can participate anonymously using any IRC frontend and by running the IRC daemon. ircd uses the DarkFi P2P engine to synchronize chats between hosts.


  • Encrypted using same algorithms as Signal.
  • There are no identities. You cannot see who is in the chat.
  • Completely anonymous. You can rename yourself easily by using the command /nick foo. This means all messages are unlinkable.
  • God-fearing based CLI without soy gui shit.
  • p2p decentralized.
  • Optionally run it over Tor or Nym for network level anonymity.

Therefore this is the world's most strongly anonymous chat in existence. Nothing else exists like it.


Follow the instructions in the README to ensure you have all the necessary dependencies.

% git clone https://github.com/darkrenaissance/darkfi 
% cd darkfi
% make BINS=ircd
% sudo make install BINS=ircd

Usage (DarkFi Network)

Upon installing ircd as described above, the preconfigured defaults will allow you to connect to the network and start chatting with the rest of the DarkFi community.

First, try to start ircd from your command-line so it can spawn its configuration file in place. The preconfigured defaults will autojoin you to the #dev channel, where the community is most active and talks about DarkFi development.

% ircd

After running it for the first time, ircd will create a configuration file you can review and potentially edit. It might be useful if you want to add other channels you want to autojoin (like #philosophy and #memes), or if you want to set a shared secret for some channel in order for it to be encrypted between its participants.

When done, you can run ircd for the second time in order for it to connect to the network and start participating in the P2P protocol:

% ircd



In this section, we'll briefly cover how to use the Weechat IRC client to connect and chat with ircd.

Normally, you should be able to install weechat using your distribution's package manager. If not, have a look at the weechat git repository for instructions on how to install it on your computer.

Once installed, we can configure a new server which will represent our ircd instance. First, start weechat, and in its window - run the following commands (there is an assumption that irc_listen in the ircd config file is set to

/server add darkfi localhost/6667 -autoconnect

This will set up the server, save the settings, and exit weechat. You are now ready to begin using the chat. Simply start weechat and everything should work.

When you join, you will not see any users displayed. This is normal since there is no concept of nicknames or registration on this anonymous chat.

You can change your nickname using /nick foo, and navigate channels using F5/F6 or ALT+X where X is the channel number displayed.

Usage (Local Deployment)

These steps below are only for developers who wish to make a testing deployment. The previous sections are sufficient to join the chat.

Seed Node

First you must run a seed node. The seed node is a static host which nodes can connect to when they first connect to the network. The seed_session simply connects to a seed node and runs protocol_seed, which requests a list of addresses from the seed node and disconnects straight after receiving them.

The first time you run the program, a config file will be created in ~/.config/darkfi if your are using Linux or in ~/Library/Application Support/darkfi/ on MacOS. You must specify an inbound accept address in your config file to configure a seed node:

## P2P accept addresses

Note that the above config doesn't specify an external address since the seed node shouldn't be advertised in the list of connectable nodes. The seed node does not participate as a normal node in the p2p network. It simply allows new nodes to discover other nodes in the network during the bootstrapping phase.

Inbound Node

This is a node accepting inbound connections on the network but which is not making any outbound connections.

The external addresses are important and must be correct.

To run an inbound node, your config file must contain the following info:

## P2P accept addresses

## P2P external addresses

## Seed nodes to connect to 

Outbound Node

This is a node which has 8 outbound connection slots and no inbound connections. This means the node has 8 slots which will actively search for unique nodes to connect to in the p2p network.

In your config file:

## Connection slots

## Seed nodes to connect to 

Attaching the IRC Frontend

Assuming you have run the above 3 commands to create a small model testnet, and both inbound and outbound nodes above are connected, you can test them out using weechat.

To create separate weechat instances, use the --dir command:

weechat --dir /tmp/a/
weechat --dir /tmp/b/

Then in both clients, you must set the option to connect to temporary servers:

/set irc.look.temporary_servers on

Finally you can attach to the local IRCd instances:

/connect localhost/6667
/connect localhost/6668

And send messages to yourself.

Running a Fullnode

See the script script/run_node.sh for an example of how to deploy a full node which does seed session synchronization, and accepts both inbound and outbound connections.

Global Buffer

Copy this script to ~/.weechat/python/autoload/, and you will create a single buffer which aggregates messages from all channels. It's useful to monitor activity from all channels without needing to flick through them.