Exploring SendingNetwork Whitepaper: A Complete Overview of Next-Gen Communication Infra

Sending Labs
8 min readJan 23, 2024

Hey fellow developers and tech enthusiasts!

Our latest whitepaper is out, offering a deep dive into the future of communication. To know more about our whitepaper, click this link.

It’s a fascinating journey, especially when we look back at how computation, storage, and communication have shaped the internet. From the early days of Web1, through the expansion of Web2, and now as we navigate the exciting waters of Web3, we’ve seen amazing innovations in computing and storage — hats off to the likes of Ethereum’s EVM and Arweave! But what about communication? It’s always been a key player, yet often overlooked, like that quiet but crucial member of the team. Well, it’s time for that to change.

Rethinking Current Communication: Beyond the Status Quo

Current messaging solution has been great for connecting us, but it’s not without its issues. Privacy concerns, the struggle for true data ownership, and fragmented digital identities are just the tip of the iceberg. We’re at a point where we need to shake things up and rethink how we communicate in this digital world. These problems affect not only individual users’ privacy but also restrict the evolution of social networks towards a more open, free, and secure direction.

Interoperability Challenges

Ever felt stuck in your own little digital bubble? Chatting within an application or a platform is one thing, but crossing over between these platforms? Nope, not happening. In the realm of Web3, however, the vision is to enable messaging to be directed to a wallet address, bypassing the limitations of being tied to a specific service or application.

Fragmented Identities

Our digital identities are all over the place. One account here, another there – it’s like having different digital personalities on each platform. This scattered scenario creates a gap between our Web2 and Web3 identities, complicating messaging, trading, and even payments. It's a setup ripe for confusion and, sadly, scams.

The Illusion of Data Ownership

Although many service providers claim that you retain ownership of your data, the reality is quite different. By agreeing to their terms of service, you essentially hand over control of your data. Your data becomes a goldmine for targeted ads or, worse, gets sold off. In such a scenario, the notion of true data ownership becomes alarmingly fragile.

Privacy Concerns

Now, let’s talk about private messaging. It's supposed to be private, but is it really? The risk of someone snooping into our conversations or data breaches is very real, putting our privacy on thin ice. Conversations can potentially be accessed, monitored, or even shared by social software providers, resulting in profound violations of privacy. Moreover, the possibility of chat data decryption by unauthorized third parties heightens the risk, leading to potential leaks of sensitive information and escalating security threats.

The Urgent Call for Decentralized Messaging

After seeing all this, we can't help but advocate for a decentralized communication network. Imagine a world where you truly own and control your data and accounts. We're talking about a setup that offers more privacy, tackling the myriad of issues we face in current messaging networks.

Decentralized messaging is the buzzword, but getting it right is tricky. There are a few solutions out there, each trying to tackle the challenges present in communication networks. We've seen various approaches, like on-chain messaging, federated solutions, and P2P protocols. Each has its pros and cons, but none have hit the mark just yet.

On-Chain Messaging: A Double-Edged Sword

These solutions involve completely on-chain communication, turning messages into blockchain transactions and forming a consensus across the network. It's super decentralized, sure, but it's struggling with performance issues due to blockchain limitations. So, real-time communication? Not so much.

The Federated Approach: Not Quite There Yet

This method involves spreading user data over various centers and often incorporates end-to-end encryption for enhanced security. Although it reduces the risk of users being controlled by a single center, the user accounts and data are still subject to the registration centers, making the degree of decentralization somewhat insufficient.

P2P Solutions: Close, But No Cigar

These solutions rely entirely on P2P network protocols for message transmission, requiring chat data to be stored within the P2P network. However, this method is susceptible to network storm issues inherent in P2P protocols. High volumes of concurrent traffic could lead to network delays and message loss. Moreover, storing data on the network raises concerns about data sovereignty and privacy for users.

Introducing SendingNetwork: Not Just Another Player

That's where SendingNetwork steps in. We're not just joining the bandwagon; we're driving it. We aim to build a messaging platform that's genuinely owned by the users and fully functional. We're breaking through tech limitations to deliver a communication experience that's not just private and efficient, but also rich in features.

SendingNetwork stands on a three-tier Client-Edge-Blockchain architecture. It’s a blend of blockchain tech, P2P, and end-to-end encryption.

Figure 2

Client Tier

This is where your data resides securely, encrypted on your device with end-to-end encryption capabilities based on double ratchet algorithms. As the user’s terminal, the Client stores core user data and runs on trusted devices like mobile phones, tablets, or PCs. You have the flexibility to choose your network connection — either through local P2P nodes or Delegation nodes — prioritizing trust and adaptability.

These local P2P or Delegation nodes possess messaging capabilities akin to Web2 IM servers, handling message sending, receiving, and computational processes. The Client SDK, local P2P nodes, and Delegation nodes are all trustworthy for users. If you prefer not to trust third-party Delegation nodes, you can directly access the P2P network through local P2P nodes or your own private Delegation nodes. A Private Node, essentially a Delegation Node with access control, is typically set up by developers who host a node to specifically cater to their user base.

Edge Network

Think of this as the digital highway for your messages, a secure base station in the P2P network handling message relay and caching. It facilitates information transfer without compromising privacy. They are the core miner of the network.

Edge Node’s primary resources are bandwidth and cache, helping cache encrypted messages for a large number of offline users and establishing high-speed communication channels with online users. You do not need to trust these Edge nodes; the information delivered to Edge is encrypted and signed, preventing them from viewing or altering user information, thus ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of user data. Offline data cached on Edge is immediately deleted once the offline user retrieves it.

Blockchain Core

This is the brain of the operation, managing registrations and motivating our network miners, all the while keeping things decentralized with Proof of Availability and Proof of Relay.

The Blockchain acts as a registrar for user registration information and a coordinator for Edge resources. It mainly manages user DID registration information, organizes, and motivates Edge node resources, encouraging miners to contribute their bandwidth to help the network operate in a fully decentralized environment. Blockchain uses the Proof of Availability consensus mechanism to organize Edge nodes and the Proof of Relay to incentivize the relay work of Edge nodes.

Proof of Relay

Proof of Relay is our unique consensus mechanism for measuring the relay workload of Edge miners, serving as a local consensus mechanism for message senders, receivers, and Edge miners. Its efficiency ensures that the network’s throughput is not affected by the consensus mechanism.

Proof of Availability

Proof of Availability is our unique mechanism for measuring the online status and service quality of Edge miners. It’s a network-wide consensus based on Proof of Stake, recording the activity of Edge miners and instantly penalizing malfunctioning miners, effectively organizing and improving network service quality.

Characteristics of the Protocol

Now, let’s talk about what makes our network stand out. We’re permissionless, self-sustaining, private, and scalable. We’ve taken the best parts of current decentralized communication tech and made them even better.

Figure 3

Permissionless

Users no longer need to trust any third party or be controlled by any centralized organization. Anyone can participate as an Edge node in the network. The blockchain’s Proof of Availability and Proof of Relay mechanisms ensure complete decentralization.

Self-Sustaining

The network’s nodes are decentralized, with any node being blocked or exiting being dynamically replaced by others. When there’s a shortage of Edge resources, miner profits increase, thereby motivating more miners to join and maintain sufficient Edge resources, ensuring network availability. Edge nodes back each other up, ensuring network availability even when some nodes exit.

Private

The network uses end-to-end encryption to ensure encrypted communication in both private and group chats. Intermediate nodes like Edge or Delegation cannot view the encrypted data, and all data is signed, preventing tampering and ensuring data integrity. We implement an adaptive end-to-end encryption scheme to maintain the confidentiality of large-scale group chats.

Scalable

Performance-wise, technologies like Delegation and dynamic double ratchet ensure the feasibility of encrypting and decrypting messages in large groups. For private communication, users can connect directly to the network via P2P nodes without trusting any third party. For large-scale public group chats, where privacy requirements are lower, users can connect through Delegation nodes, ensuring cost-effective and high-performance large-scale group chats.

The Road Ahead

The above technology plan represents our implementation and vision, and there is a significant amount of work to achieve this vision. Currently, we have divided the roadmap into five stages to reach this vision:

  1. Data and Communication Foundation: Establishing communication capabilities coexisting in Local, Delegation, and Private modes based on the P2P network.
  2. End-to-End Encryption: Implementing complete end-to-end encryption and signature verification for communication data to ensure data security and privacy.
  3. Consensus — Proof of Relay: Utilizing smart contracts on third-party chains combined with decentralized challenge nodes to quantify miners’ workload.
  4. Consensus — Proof of Availability: Building a global consensus blockchain for Proof of Availability based on Proof of Stake, migrating all workload proofs to this newly established blockchain.
  5. Mainnet Launch: After thorough testing, launching the mainnet.

Currently, we have preliminarily completed the first and second stages. In the future, in addition to continuing to refine the performance and security of communication, we will start working on consensus and tokenomics.

In Conclusion: A New Era of Communication Awaits

To wrap it up, the field of messaging is ripe for a revolution, and that’s exactly what we’re bringing to the table with SendingNetwork. We’re focused on creating a communication network that’s not just private and permissionless, but also scalable and self-sustaining.

Our goal is to deliver a communication experience that’s more efficient, secure, and flexible for both developers and users. For an in-depth exploration, check out our detailed whitepaper right here.

To know more about our whitepaper, click this link.

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