In the age of data privacy and cybersecurity concerns, encrypted chat services like WhatsApp and Telegram just seem like a smart move. Where Facebook messenger sells the contents of your private conversations to advertising services and research groups for their own purposes, encrypted apps aim to protect your data and allow you to have private, secure conversations with friends and colleagues.
So far, WhatsApp and Telegram have been leading the charge in the battle for mobile chat privacy, but a new DApp looks set to rival and perhaps even overtake the two.
Promether’s first viable product is die in Q4 of this year and it’s called Contact, an end-to-end encrypted DApp which will run on the Promether blockchain. So first thing’s first – what is Promether?
We actually covered Promether in a recent article here on CryptoIsComing, so I’ll keep this recap short and sweet.
Promether is a blockchain security firm founded by Eric Anderson, the former lead programmer for projects like GTA V and Guitar Hero and a prominent figure in hacking and programming circles. Anderson is the founder and CEO, and launched Promether to combat and help eliminate online surveillance. The company provides blockchain solutions to other blockchain DApps, and now they’re launching their first MVP (minimum viable product) – Contact.
The project is partnered with HOLO and unlike most blockchain firms, Promether will release their MVP and native blockchain before ever crowdfunding from the public.
Contact is the MVP set to disrupt online chat apps. Promether aims to establish itself as a secure communications platform via the DApp which will launch alongside a built-in decentralized VPN network and a programmable API for developers.
The whitepaper reads:
The truly secure VOIP/messenger will work with Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, OSX, and any IoT/embedded device, like the Raspberry Pi.
This sounds like a rather ambitious goal to set before an ICO even gets off the ground, but the effort to launch products before crowdfunding is commendable and the combination of private funding and a highly experienced programmer as the CEO should help offset any concerns about the viability of Promether’s roadmap goals.
Contact will be powered by the Promether network, fully decentralized, and built on top of open source software designed to protect the privacy of every individual through decentralized distribution protocols, flexible encryption, and advanced privacy functions.
Contact features will include encrypted group chat (such as dynamic group membership via NFC/QR Codes), audio/video streaming, secure messaging, VOIP, file sharing, sync, multi-device with identity, perfect forward secrecy (PFS), cross-platform/app communication, private file storage, video calls, conference calls, and message and account/identity self-destruction functions.
The platform also aims to enable interoperable integration – this would allow Contact to be able to exchange information/content/value/data with other applications on the network through the API.
Contact users will have flexibility in choosing how messages are stored, with features to store everything in-memory (RAM) (which makes data almost unrecoverable once deleted), offline, or distributed around the world. Between the self-destruct feautures and the data erasure capabilities, Contact is clearly geared very much with high-level security and privacy in mind.
Because the application is powered by the Promether network, all data storage functionalities are decentralized which adds another layer of security and privacy – data distributed across multiple nodes means no central point of weakness for hackers to exploit.
Comparison to other services
At this point it might be useful to compare Contact to Telegram and WhatsApp. Does Contact sound impressive? Yes, that level of security sounds good and if the DApp works as intended then it has a very strong use case.
But don’t Telegram and WhatsApp already offer most if not all of this?
Let’s compare the two competitors to each other first.
Telegram Vs WhatsApp
Telegram offers end-to-end encryption – while this has since been adopted by WhatsApp, the encryption used by Telegram is considered to be more secure and Telegram users may send secret messages which disappear after a set amount of time and also disallow screenshots of conversations, neither of which are an option on WhatsApp.
All Telegram activity is cloud-linked, which increases file storage capacity significantly while arguably compromising on security.
WhatsApp has the current advantage of having an enormous userbase of around 1.3 billion users, ten times that of Telegram. WhatsApp also has a more diverse range of features than Telegram, allowing users to send status updates via text or video as well as allowing font formatting popular on social media platforms like strikethrough, bold, italic, etc.
On WhatsApp you may invite 256 people to a group; Telegram allows 10,000. Telegram and WhatsApp each let you send files to contacts, but Telegram is better in this aspect because it hosts files up to 1.5 GB each (WhatsApp limits files to 16 MB). What are the stats on Contact?
At this time, we’re not sure yet – there are a number of questions about specific Contact feautres that are not yet known at this time despite it being very close to launch. One thing that is certain, however, is where Contact wins.
Where Contact Wins
Contact beats its two main competitors on security hands down. Unlike the other two, no information is stored on the cloud or a backup service. It’s not necessary to enter your phone number to use Contact, and the app can bypass censorship tools like the Great Firewall of China. The level of anti-surveillance features and security measures are perhaps unparalleled by any other publicly available chat service. Obviously, there already exist highly secure ways of communicating online – PGP encryption, darknet email services, etc.
However, Contact isn’t going to be an obscure onion site for highly tech-literate data security geeks – Promether aims to launch an app that will satisfy social media needs of regular users while providing them with all of the security features mentioned in the article and perhaps some more besides that as well.
While the DApp is still in development, it’s due out at the end of the year. A decentralized service with secure encryption and multiple, modifiable safety features designed to protect and even remotely destroy your data if necessary, keeping your personal data out of the hands of the growing community of organized black-hat data miners, identity thieves, and hackers which continue to bombard social media with their attacks in an effort to access private financial and sensitive personal information.
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