Blockchains have implications for almost every industry known to humankind. Payments and financial institutions were just the beginning for Blockchains. In the last decade, blockchains have already enabled users over the internet to transact with each other in a trustless fashion. This is a groundbreaking invention that can help us design more robust, censorship-resistant applications no matter what we try to build. Here’s a look at how Blockchains can improve our existing chat applications.
How Can Blockchains Help Chat Apps?
At its core, a blockchain is merely a database. However, this blockchain based database has a unique set of properties that make it particularly useful for decentralized applications:
Perhaps the most exciting fact about Bitcoin, the world’s longest running blockchain is that it has no CEO or person in charge. The core software that governs the networks runs on a wide array of hardware on millions of devices across the world. This is precisely what gives Bitcoin it’s most significant strength as it is a people’s currency. Bitcoin employs Proof-of-Work, a consensus mechanism that verifies transactions on the network using the computing resources of the nodes running the Bitcoin software.
Blockchains are especially useful to chat applications because they are immutable. To modify an entry that was previously appended to the blockchain requires an exorbitant amount of computing power. Data Integrity startups like Factom which offer use of this fact solutions to corporations to ensure that their databases are authentic and have not been modified in any way.
- Censorship Resistance
Censorship is another big concern when it comes to tailoring a privacy-focused, blockchain based chat application. Countries like Saudi Arabia and China have a notorious history of trying to contain their citizens from using social media platforms to curb dissent. Blockchains are especially useful here because to stop people from using Blockchains; the governments would have to completely stop the entire public internet, which is very hard, even for an authoritarian regime to do.
The Obsidian Platform
The Obsidian Platform uses a custom version of the Stratis technology stack to power the private and secure messaging application that offers end-to-end encryption with privacy-focused features like timed auto-deletion of messenger transfers along with no metadata collection. Since the Obsidian Platform leverages the Stratis blockchain, it is much more resistant to censorship compared to existing messaging services like Whatsapp and Telegram, which China banned earlier this year. In both these services, users have to rely on the trusted middleman to not insert any malicious code in the application. Blockchains provide us with a unique new mechanism to distribute that trust over the entire network that utilizes the application.
Obsidian (ODN) is a Proof-of-Stake coin which is going to offer Masternodes and Service nodes for messaging. Obsidian Master nodes are going to require 10,000 ODN ($4500 at the current market price) and will get fee transfers from Obsidian Secure Messenger (OSM.) The team, led by developer Raides J. Rodríguez, has already delivered a prototype of the OSM application which is in alpha testing. OSM has a robust roadmap for adding support for master nodes which will help secure the network and as the reward would get 10% ODN annually. The minimum amount at stake is going to be 10000 ODN providing investors a considerable incentive to hold their coins are driving prices up in the medium to longer term.
The Status Network
Status, the Mobile Ethereum Operating System is the king when it comes to blockchain based chat apps. The most prominent goal that Status has is to give users more control over their personal information. Status offers encrypted messaging, a built-in ether wallet and a browser for Decentralized Applications running on the Ethereum blockchain. Status is the top dog in blockchain based messaging platforms which is at over $780 million in market capitalization compared to Obsidian’s $10 million as of writing this article. Obsidian offers more privacy-related features compared to Statuses like end-to-end encryption, anonymous user registration and economic incentives like the ability to stake coins. Since Obsidian has a fraction of the market capitalization of Status, it has more room to grow as it is mostly a community-driven project. By comparison, Status is already working similar to a corporation and has a strict roadmap in place for further development.