Decentralized Messaging: Reimaging Conversations First Platforms
Secure and Private Communication: An Overview of Decentralized Messaging Platforms
Decentralized messaging platforms offer a secure and private alternative to traditional messaging apps, often owned by large corporations and subject to government surveillance. These platforms use decentralized technology, such as blockchain, to allow users to communicate without needing a central authority. This means that messages cannot be intercepted or censored by third parties, making them an attractive option for individuals who value their privacy.
Issue With Current Messaging Platforms
New technologies are changing how people communicate every day. We are more connected than ever, with social media and messaging apps playing a significant role in our daily lives. Many messaging apps from big tech companies, like WhatsApp and Telegram, use end-to-end encryption, but they may only sometimes protect user data privacy.
Some tech companies, like Facebook, have caused problems because they needed to be more transparent about using user data for profit. Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger are all owned by META. Messaging apps must follow privacy laws, like the GDPR, which protects the data and privacy of people in Europe. In 2018, WhatsApp was fined by the Data Protection Commission for breaking this law.
Dawn of Decentralized Messaging Protocols
Matrix was created by Amdocs in 2014 by Hodgson and Amandine Le Pape, who later left the company to work on Matrix as an open-source project. They also started a company called New Vector to make Matrix products, including a hosting service and a messaging app called Riot. In 2018, they created the Matrix.org Foundation to manage Matrix, including protecting its intellectual property and accepting donations.
Element, a commercial version of Matrix, was released a few years ago and is used by organizations as an alternative to products from U.S. tech companies. Element is open source and offers end-to-end encryption and features like group messaging and voice and video chat.
Element uses the Matrix protocol, a decentralized, open-source standard for secure communication. The platform offers end-to-end encryption and allows users to control their data, as it is stored on their own servers rather than on a central server.
The Matrix protocol allows communication between Matrix and non-Matrix apps through "bridging." This includes apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal. Element offers this feature as part of a subscription service called Element One, where users pay $5 per month to use all their different apps in one interface. This is made possible through publicly available APIs created by tech companies.
Existing Incumbents In The Race
One of the most well-known decentralized messaging platforms is Signal, developed by the Signal Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing secure communication tools. Signal uses end-to-end encryption to ensure that only the sender and recipient of a message can read its contents. The platform also includes features such as message expiration and disappearing messages, which further enhance the privacy of conversations.
Decentralized messaging platforms have their limitations, however. These platforms may not have the same functionality or user-friendliness as traditional messaging apps, and they may not be as widely used, making connecting with friends and family more challenging. Additionally, decentralized messaging platforms may be more vulnerable to technical issues, such as outages or server downtime.
Despite these limitations, decentralized messaging platforms offer a secure and private alternative to traditional messaging apps. They are likely to become increasingly popular as concerns about privacy and security continue to grow. If you want a more secure way to communicate with others, consider using a decentralized messaging platform.