Home CryptocurrencyAltcoin Are decentralized blockchain messengers a real alternative?

Are decentralized blockchain messengers a real alternative?

by SuperiorInvest

Since the introduction of ICQ – the forerunner of online chat applications – expectations for instant messaging (IM) services have never changed. Users simply want them to work, which has obviously turned into an uphill task given the frequent downtime that most popular chat apps are experiencing these days.

It was launched in the same year as Bitcoin (BTC), WhatsApp is one of the most used chat apps on the planet. Owned by Meta (whose stable also boasts Instagram and Facebook), WhatsApp is the epitome of centralized services. Therefore when the service goes downhas a much wider impact than just leaving more than two billion monthly users scratching their heads and complaining on Twitter.

WhatsApp perfectly embodies the characteristics of a centralized mindset: It has mainstream reach, is backed by an industrial giant, and despite being used by nearly one-third of the planet, people have absolutely no say in the final product.

Why are centralized chat apps ending?

When a product is managed and controlled by a central unit, it tends to follow certain processes throughout its life cycle. Someone must bear full responsibility for various aspects of a centralized product.

The massive scope of the product turns even small updates into a mess of human error, database issues, and lack of time to test a version before releasing an update to meet stakeholder expectations. Coupled with numerous cyberattacks on the infrastructure itself, the more a service is centralized and managed by a single entity, the more the “usual suspects of failure” fill the room.

Can decentralized services fix downtime?

Focused on communication decentralized applications (DApps), on the other hand, provide anti-fragile systems, co-founder and CEO of Web3 service provider Heirloom Nick Dazè told Cointelegraph. He said decentralized messengers will grow stronger with each user on board because they essentially act as “nodes” that keep the system running properly.

“The key difference is that there is no single point of failure,” said Dazè, comparing it to a balloon that is compressed on one part that shrinks geometrically while still containing air from the compressed part: “All the air is still there. It’s just moved to another part of the balloon.”

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Of course, decentralized applications come with their own set of challenges, and scaling is one of them. DApps can’t compete with centralized services without being able to take on a billion-level user base, but Dazè believes DApps can overcome scaling challenges by answering two questions: “Where does all this data ‘live?'” and “How do we reduce network spam?”

Regarding the first problem, Dazè sees public key addressing as a decent solution, “Because it serves as a function to limit the amount of data that needs to be processed.” Regarding the second problem, Dazè said that disincentives for spamming must be created, accompanied by Captcha servers.

Redundancy is the name of the game

Cointelegraph also reached out to Chris McCabe, co-founder of the Oxen Project – known for its decentralized IM Session app. When asked how decentralized instant messaging apps handle crashes and downtime, McCabe pointed to redundancy:

“Decentralized networks have a lot of redundancy built in. If one server goes down, another takes its place.”

He said the Oxen Service Node Network, a set of incentivized nodes serving as the infrastructure for Oxen and its offerings, has more than 1,600 nodes operated by hundreds of people around the world.

“It would take a catastrophic event to bring the network down,” McCabe argued, adding that the network is equipped to carry on as usual despite experiencing major events from time to time.

“In the past, we’ve seen a fifth of the nodes suddenly go offline, but Session continued to send messages as usual. The network is self-healing and does not experience a complete freeze of communication as we have seen with centralized networks.”

Session currently manages about five million users — a small fraction of WhatsApp’s user base. However, McCabe said the team will continue to release updates for a larger decentralized storage network and higher network bandwidth.

Co-founder Oxen admitted that whether the decentralized network can handle the traffic that WhatsApp or Messenger faces on a daily basis remains to be seen. But he hopes Session could be the first app to test that theory.

“The show is gaining popularity not only because it hasn’t gone down,” he summed up, adding: “But also because people are sick and tired of having their data systematically collected, analyzed and weaponized against them.”

Unmanipulated, unreadable and untraceable

The decentralized ecosystem offers a wide range of projects and applications with different priorities. One of them is TransferChain, a peer-to-peer messaging app that focuses on privacy. Tuna Özen, co-founder of TransferChain, told Cointelegraph that while the scalability aspect of decentralization is a gray area, scalability or non-scalability is a design decision.

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“The main misconception that leads to products not being scalable is the assumption that any blockchain design can meet all needs,” Özen said. He suggested that multiple variables should be considered including block volume, block generation rate, consensus, selection algorithm, token integration, network cost-benefit structure, and network participation structure:

“Just as it is reasonable to expect a track-proven race car built purely for speed to perform equally off-road, it is equally reasonable to expect a blockchain approach that is not specifically designed for products and services. scalable.”

Tuna Özen and his team describe TransferChain as a cloud platform powered by a decentralized decision mechanism on a distributed ledger. The application differs from its centralized counterparts in where and how the communication data is stored, as well as the transparent storage process – which Özen says is unmanipulated, unreadable and untraceable.

Although decentralized services offer more resilient infrastructures, they still have a long way to go to catch up with their centralized counterparts in terms of user base and mainstream adoption. Another thing to remember is that as DApps become more popular, they will likely have to face more regulatory scrutiny, and governments around the world would definitely struggle with this new form of communication – given that they have only recently begun to understand the new form of money. .

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