Real IPv6 friend
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Nico Schottelius 679c6ffb8f Putting back the fun into unix 4 years ago Putting back the fun into unix 4 years ago Add script to listfriends and to import friends 4 years ago Also export friends 4 years ago Add friend import-export 4 years ago Add script to listfriends and to import friends 4 years ago Add invite friend script 4 years ago Use just awk instead of grep + awk + sed combo 4 years ago


Are you a real IPv6 friend?


People like you and me don't want or need Facebook. However, we do want to securely communicate with our friends. And chat with them. And know when they are online. Let's solve this problem once-and-for-all in a decentralised, sustainable and future proof way.

Here comes the real IPv6 friend

Instead of using a single system or server, we use IPv6 to connect to our friends directly. Because each of our friends is reachable by IPv6 if they are online (otherwise they would not be a real IPv6 friend), we can easily verify if they are online. To find out who is online, just connect to their computer!

How it works

It's a bit geeky, but it works actually rather simple. To become a real IPv6 friend, you need to do the following things:

  • Generate a GPG key with a comment named RIF following the URL of your computer (f.i. RIF
  • Ensure that the URL points to the IPv6 address of your computer
  • Setup a webserver on your computer
  • Export your key and all real IPv6 friend keys to your webserver as "rifkeys.txt
  • For each of your friends, check whether they are online
  • Import the friends of your friends and check whether they are online, too!
  • Send friend requests (like other platforms!)

Example: Generating a key with the right comment

In this example I choose to create an ECC based key that requires the export option in gpg:

[1:24] line:~% gpg --expert --full-gen-key
gpg (GnuPG) 2.2.12; Copyright (C) 2018 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

Please select what kind of key you want:
   (1) RSA and RSA (default)
   (2) DSA and Elgamal
   (3) DSA (sign only)
   (4) RSA (sign only)
   (7) DSA (set your own capabilities)
   (8) RSA (set your own capabilities)
   (9) ECC and ECC
  (10) ECC (sign only)
  (11) ECC (set your own capabilities)
  (13) Existing key
Your selection? 9
Please select which elliptic curve you want:
   (1) Curve 25519
   (3) NIST P-256
   (4) NIST P-384
   (5) NIST P-521
   (6) Brainpool P-256
   (7) Brainpool P-384
   (8) Brainpool P-512
   (9) secp256k1
Your selection? 1
Please specify how long the key should be valid.
         0 = key does not expire
      <n>  = key expires in n days
      <n>w = key expires in n weeks
      <n>m = key expires in n months
      <n>y = key expires in n years
Key is valid for? (0) 0
Key does not expire at all
Is this correct? (y/N) y

GnuPG needs to construct a user ID to identify your key.

Change (N)ame, (C)omment, (E)mail or (O)kay/(Q)uit? c
Comment: RIF
You selected this USER-ID:
    "Nico Schottelius (RIF <>"

Change (N)ame, (C)omment, (E)mail or (O)kay/(Q)uit? o
We need to generate a lot of random bytes. It is a good idea to perform
some other action (type on the keyboard, move the mouse, utilize the
disks) during the prime generation; this gives the random number
generator a better chance to gain enough entropy.
We need to generate a lot of random bytes. It is a good idea to perform
some other action (type on the keyboard, move the mouse, utilize the
disks) during the prime generation; this gives the random number
generator a better chance to gain enough entropy.
gpg: key 27541E11E73F288D marked as ultimately trusted
gpg: directory '/home/nico/.gnupg/openpgp-revocs.d' created
gpg: revocation certificate stored as '/home/nico/.gnupg/openpgp-revocs.d/B982A8BABC030C66DEF5984527541E11E73F288D.rev'
public and secret key created and signed.

pub   ed25519 2019-09-09 [SC]
uid                      Nico Schottelius (RIF <>
sub   cv25519 2019-09-09 [E]

Example: Setting up a webserver

On a Debian/Devuan based distro:

apt install nginx
sudo chown $(whoami) /var/www/html

Exporting all keys

To make yourself accessible and expose who your real IPv6 friends are.

gpg -a --export RIF > /var/www/html/rifkeys

Example: List your friends

You can use the included or directly gpg:

[1:40] line:~% gpg --list-keys --with-colons | grep RIF | awk -F: '{ print $10 }' | sed 's/\\x3a/:/'
Nico Schottelius (RIF <>
Nico Schottelius (myself) (RIF <>

Example: Checking which friends are online

Use the included script or iterate yourself over above output.

[1:54] line:realipv6friend% sh
Checking Nico Schottelius  on ...
Nico Schottelius is online
Checking Nico Schottelius (myself)  on ...
Nico Schottelius (myself) is offline
[1:54] line:realipv6friend%

Example: Importing friends of my friend

Importing friends of a friend is as simple as importing all the exported keys! We import friends directly from the URL of a friend:

curl -6 -s | gpg --import

You can also use the included

Example: Updating your friends

Now that you have imported the friends of your friends, they have automatically also become your friends!

Obviously, you will want to check whether you even want to sign some of the friends (keys) that you downloaded, but clearly you want to show off with the biggest amount of friends (that's what is most important anyway, isn't it?).

In any case, to update your friend list, simply repeat the command you ran above already in the beginning:

gpg -a --export RIF > /var/www/html/rifkeys

Or use the included

Example: Importing friends of all friends and exporting them

From time to time you might want to checkup on which friends gained new friends and add them to your friend list. This is as easy as iterating over all your friends and importing their friends into your friends list. And because you are a good friend, you might want to export all friends again.

To make things easy, the included a script automates this process.

Example: Sending a message to a friend

You can probably just use your mail program for that - and you might even be able to send it IPv6 only!

Example: Invite a friend

Live is not great without friends! Let's invite a friend! This is as easy is this:

printf 'Hello yournamehere!\n I am looking for real IPv6 friends.\n You find my friends on\nHow real IPv6 friends find each other is explained on\n Looking forward to befriend you!' | mail -s "friend request"

And obviously this is waaaaaaaaay to long to type. That's why puts this nicely into a script.

Attention: this requires a working mail setup on your computer (i.e. outgoing emails sending by mail works).

Finding friends

As real IPv6 friends are decentralised, there is no central registry of friends. Just startup the webserver on your machine, export your key(s) and ping your friend.

With every friend that is added to your network, the reach grows in the chain of all friends of every friend!

So just start in your small cycle and forward your friend URL to your friends!


Real IPv6 friend is a project launched by Nico Schottelius on 2019-09-10. If you want to become my friend, my friend URL is