The blockchain is disrupting all sectors, first and foremost banking and finance. While DeFi has seen tremendous growth over the past two years, certain sectors have made a lot of progress.
One industry that blockchains have not yet taken over is social media. Humans are social beings. We are enslaved by the need to connect with other people. Instant communication is nowadays facilitated by platforms such as Twitter, Telegram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Discord, etc. Some of them are BigTechs with valuations in the tens of billions. Their growth can be attributed to billions of people using their platforms.
Social media platforms are the intermediaries connecting people. They collect your data including personally identifiable information for the purpose of providing their services to you. However, most, if not all, of these platforms are not transparent about how they process the information they collect. Meta, the parent company that owns Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, has been sued countless times, most recently over allegations of accessing patient data. The Facebook pixel, the tracking and analytics tool used by websites to track Facebook users, supposedly shares information with Facebook about the patient’s protected health information (PHI).
Centralized social networks monopolize user data. They share it with third parties who track you with cookies, ads, and other annoying internet junk. Some of them store your data for up to 5 years. Privacy laws established to keep BigTech at bay are weak or non-existent in 47 of the 50 US states. The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is touted as one of the strictest privacy and security laws in the world. But the Irish Data Protection Commission which oversees its BigTech enforcement has been criticized for its inadequacy in enforcement. Wojciech Wiewiórowski, the European Data Protection Supervisor, agrees. “All too often, the GDPR puts its constraints on the small entities but spares the large ones,” he says.
Private peer-to-peer communication
In the 1990s, the development of peer to peer communication was driven by file sharing platforms such as Napster which shared music files between computers connected to its decentralized network. Each machine served as both a client and a server, uploading and downloading files to and from the network.
Peer to peer networks like Napster essentially prevent third parties from accessing your data. Blockchains are decentralized P2P networks originally used to send, receive and maintain transactions. These transactions are broadcast throughout the network and must be verified. However, blockchains can also be used to send and receive messages. These messages only need to be broadcast to the nodes that relay them.
Today, the instant messaging industry is dominated by centralized applications. But what if there was a decentralized messaging app that let you communicate between peers? What if there was a platform that does not collect your personal data, where your conversations remain protected at all times, not by humans, but by cryptography. Blockchain messengers use public key cryptography to encrypt and decrypt messages. Which means that only the recipient with the correct set of public and private key pairs can decrypt the sender’s message. One such messenger is BChat.
Own your data with BChat
BChat is a private decentralized messenger that uses cryptography to generate a BChat ID. The BChat ID represents your on-chain identity. This is a randomly generated 66-character hexadecimal string and an alternative to your phone number and email address. It cannot be linked to your identity in the real world. You can login and text other people on BChat using your BChat ID.
The advantage of BChat over other messengers is that it is built on a system that offers privacy by default. Messages are encrypted using Secure Text Protocol (the Signal Protocol) and are routed through Beldex network nodes. Messages and files you send through BChat are stored only on your local device (your mobile phone or desktop computer). The dApp is compatible with desktop, iOS and Android devices.
On BChat, you can create secret and social groups. Messages sent through groups will have the same encryption standards and routing mechanism used in personal one-to-one chats. BChat is a crypto messenger and thus, you will be able to send and receive BDX (the native crypto of the Beldex chain) to your contacts while you chat with them. This feature will be enabled in future versions of BChat.
Why is a decentralized social network not yet mainstream?
Today, instant messaging and social media provide a platform for freedom of expression. Edward Snowden exposed mass surveillance by the NSA in 2013, but it took the US DOJ 7 years to declare what the NSA had done was illegal. Privacy regulations have always lagged behind technology.
George Orwell’s 1984 was not meant to be a manual for the future. Mass surveillance and doublethink should not be the norm. Facebook’s 2016 Cambridge Analytica scandal used personal data to create a digital profile of users to analyze their political preferences and affiliation. Yet billions of people still use Facebook today.
Decentralized private messaging allows you to speak your mind without the risk of being monitored. They are a safe mode of communication for journalists, activists, refugees, non-governmental organizations and give voice to the oppressed and marginalized. So why aren’t people turning to apps that protect their privacy? What are the obstacles to the adoption of decentralized social applications? The answer lies in usability and scalability.
Summarizing his thoughts on the subject, Afanddy Bin Hushni, Chief Executive Officer of Beldex International says, “Blockchain is still nascent and most dApps are not user-friendly yet. New users are not used to Web3. While decentralized apps like BChat emphasize the importance of usability in their design implementations, there are a few other factors that need to be considered. These include scalability and storage requirements. DApps must be able to scale with adoption. For this reason, BChat seeks storage and backup of data encrypted using InterPlanetary File Systems (IPFS) technology. Also, to improve scalability and reduce storage requirements on the base layer, Beldex is investigating the implementation of zk-SNARK. »
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