Decentralized messaging needs a time

ADAMANT Messenger
Apr 6, 2020 · 6 min read

by Aleksei Lebedev, Founder of ADAMANT Messenger

Invasion of privacy has become a commonplace occurrence due to the greater amount of technology that is being utilized in our everyday lives.

Sending text-messages is of no effort for users today. This form of online communication and data transmission is one of the most important, integral parts of the Internet. However there are very few users who think critically about what happens with their personal data after clicking on fun, animated buttons for sending text messages on popular social networks. Where are these messages delivered to besides your peers? How are they stored? Who has access to them?

Messengers and social networks users post extravagant amounts of personal information everyday, ignoring the fact that their data is sent and stored amongst third parties’ centralized servers operated by large conglomerates and companies that are able to profit greatly from the use of their data. The belief that your information is safe amongst third parties’ servers is delusional at best, relentless cyber-attacks prove that even the largest, most-secure companies are unable to prevent data from being stolen.

Popular messengers are owned by big corporations that want to collect as much information as possible. Here is the Data policy of Facebook. The company operates Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp and collects information and content provided by users: their connections, data about app usage, transactions and even information others provide to a certain user.

These data mining companies are eager to accumulate every nanometre of personal information in order to maximize profit and financial gain. Data gathering and storage has become a considerably large business. Some companies collect our information for their own marketing strategies, while others collect our personal information to sell directly to any buyer willing to pay the highest price.

Marketing has reached an advanced technological level, and it is at the users expense. With this gathering of general information, elections can be swayed, and our general ideology can be reprogrammed subconsciously, without our awareness.

What can we do to detour this immense influence? Firstly, we must disallow anyone to collect our personal information. Complete solutions to privacy are a necessity for any society seeking to regain control of their privacy and data.

Whom to trust

Actually, trust nobody. Do you really believe Signal is a secure messaging app when it explicitly identifies you by a phone number? That’s why bitcoin and decentralized applications were created, which allows to operate in trustless environment.

Technology does have its purpose, we are beginning to see the dawn of a new era of technological breakthrough that is bound to change the playing field. One of the approaches is the Blockchain. The beauty of blockchain technology is that there is no real need to understand code or technical details because many applications of this type are easily verified to be secure and trustworthy by design.

The Blockchain has introduced means that can implement fairness and democracy once again. For the first time in history there has never been an opportunity of this sort that could impact our desire to achieve individual freedom, independence, or even convert the world into unprecedented unity.

All these are not just words. After 3 years of development we are able to confirm our concept of ADAMANT, the decentralized blockchain messenger — iOS, Web PWA, Windows, GNU / Linux, Mac OS and Android apps are now available.

The prototype

Sure there should be advantages which stimulate developing new kind of decentralized messaging system.

Blockchain allows creating accounts in a second, with no credentials like phone numbers or emails. This means you can switch accounts every time you want, with no traces that they were yours. Anonymity helps security — ADAMANT is planning to implement multi-accounts in a single app with convenient usage, and usual messengers wouldn’t offer such a thing.

User’s IP addresses hidden, and location untraceable — no direct connections, all data goes through the distributed nodes. Apps have no access to contact book.

No central structure that makes message authenticity checks. This is controlled by the distributed consensus-based host system, and it belongs to users. No censorship — impossible to block accounts and delete messages.

ADAMANT Messenger Web app

Blockchain messenger also treat messages as a transaction. In the article entitled How decentralized blockchain messenger works we’ve disclosed all the technical details, it’s worth to have a look. MITM attacks are excluded — each message is a transaction and is signed by Ed25519 EdDSA. A message goes to a block, and there is no way to change the sequence and timestamps of blocks, therefore the order of messages. “I didn’t say it” won’t work with messages stored in a blockchain. All messages are end-to-end encrypted — no surprise here, but ADAMANT’s advantage is a completely open source code.

The ability to get all your dialogs from blockchain allows to give up local storage of dialogs for security reasons and to access chats from any location and any device.

Two-factor authentication on a Blockchain

Finally, Blockchain messaging opens new opportunities. For example, message delivery confirmation is a useful feature for sending critical notifications. Tight integration with Ethereum, Dogecoin, Lisk, Dash, Bitcoin turns into the ability to send crypto in chats. We even made a built-in crypto exchanger. Another example is ADAMANT 2FA, a healthy alternative to hellish SMS 2FA that has already done some harm.

Changes are not a trifling matter

Besides the fact that true blockchain messenger development utilizes much more efforts — there are no precedents yet — horizon shows other meaningful obstacles for mass adoption.

At ADAMANT, we are sure that decentralized messaging needs a time, because people must upgrade their mind first.

Paradigm shift

It is all about responsibility. People hate responsibility. No, I haven’t been clear enough. People hate responsibility very-very much and avoid it.

Have you been thinking why only few people use Bitcoin? When your bank account will be compromised, even if there is your fault, there is a good chance the bank will recover funds you’ve lost. When your bitcoin account will be compromised, there is no instance to complain. Fiat currencies’ values are guaranteed by governments, and no one guaranties value of bitcoin. Right, it is not about technologies at all.

Decentralized messaging is much more pain for people. They say “What if I lose my private key? All of my conversations will be stolen!” — And they don’t like the answer “Keep your private key in a safe place.”. In case of Facebook, they say “Arghhh.. Stupid Facebook, another security flaw!”. And if they use decentralized messengers, there is no one to blame. That’s called responsibility.

Prefer to pay hidden costs

Something inside users makes them choose anything but not straightforward payment — They prefer hidden costs and even providing their personal data and dialogs. Remember, there’s no such thing as free lunch.

With ADAMANT blockchain messenger, you know exactly what price you’re paying. Every action, including messaging or saving new contacts, has a network fee of 0.001 ADM. Often we hear critics like “Do you think somebody will pay you for messaging as there are so many free alternatives?” — they even don’t understand that fees goes not to developers but to node’s owners, like bitcoin devs don’t receive bitcoin transaction fees.

Time tries the truth

Keep in mind that Blockchain is only an attempt to create a decentralized messenger. Nobody knows if it succeeds — time will show. But definitely a game changer messenger will become a new Facebook in terms of massive adoption.

We have proven that a blockchain messenger can exist. Earlier there was only one attempt in 2012 — Bitmessage, which failed due to the long message delivery time, CPU load and lack of mobile apps.

Recent skepticism is related to the fact that Blockchain messenger is ahead of time — people are not ready to take responsibility for their account, the ownership of personal information is not yet in trend, and current technologies do not provide high speeds on the blockchain. If not ADAMANT, more advanced analogues will appear in the future. You will see!

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