Which messaging app do you use? It’s most likely that you use one, whether it is Whatsapp or Facebook messenger, which dominate in Europe, and there are many others geared up to suit other regions of the world. Most of them use the Internet to send messages via smartphones. However, a new breed of messaging app is emerging and these use the blockchain as the their platform.
For example, Origin Protocol is a newcomer in this space and it has launched a peer-to-peer messaging application built on top of ethereum. You can read all about the product here in the statement blog from Origin.
Its aim is to build a decentralised marketplace where participants can communicate with each other. As Origin says: “One of the core features of any marketplace is the ability for participants to communicate with one another. Whether a buyer has questions about a product before committing to a purchase, or a host is delivering sensitive instructions to a home sharing guest, messaging is critical component necessary to facilitate meaningful transactions.”
The Origin Protocol will use users’ ethereum addresses as a public ID for sending and receiving text messages, while the content itself is encrypted via users’ private keys. But, because the data is not being broadcast to the ethereum network, there won’t be any ‘gas’ fees for sending messages. It’s not like making an ethereum transaction.
Origin Protocol also has a dispute resolution mechanism in place to handle any problems between buyers and sellers. To do this it has adopted the ERC-725 standard, which “links identity to a specific ethereum address and also allows a third-party arbitrator to audit conversation histories once granted permission by one of the participants,” as described by Coindesk.
The key characteristics of Origin are that it is open-source, secure (everything is encrypted end-to-end), decentralised (it is built on top of OrbitDB which is a serverless, distributed, peer-to-peer database) and it is fast, auditable, and free. An Origin user will be responsible for keeping only one secret: his or her Ethereum private key.
Origin hopes its messaging protocol will be adopted by other projects and it is entirely possible that in the not too distant future we will see other messaging services use Origin’s standard or yet another new development. It certainly brings more choice to the ‘messaging’ marketplace.