With Chat Privacy Under Threat in US, Firm Develops '100% User-Controlled' Messaging

Unstoppable Domains is working to give users full control over their chat data with a new decentralized protocol.

Jul 7, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. UTC

As the U.S. moves to pass legislation that threatens to weaken end-to-end encryption, Unstoppable Domains is planning to give users full control over their chat data with a new decentralized protocol.

  • Called Dchat, the new protocol was born out of Mozilla's "Fix the Internet" incubator program, which invests in projects and people that design web technology with a focus on privacy and innovation.
  • Dchat functions by integrating cryptocurrency wallets and a peer-to-peer (P2P) storage network in order to securely store chat messages that are 100% controlled by users, the firm said Tuesday.
  • The tech is, in part, aimed at combating a rise in messaging privacy violations from government and organizations looking to surveil citizens or product users, such as those affected by Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018.
  • Unstoppable Domains co-founder Matthew Gould said Dchat would enable users to encrypt and store messages "directly," unlike apps like Tinder or Facebook where a user's messages can be read by third parties.
  • Legislation known as the EarnIT Act that is passing through the U.S. Senate would, if it becomes law, force companies to provide back doors in end-to-end encrypted messaging systems in the U.S.
  • Unstoppable's Dchat protocol "doesn't need to worry" about the EarnIT Act because only users can see their messages, Gould claimed.
  • MyEtherWallet and imToken are already planning to launch their own apps using the Dchat protocol, which is expected to go live in the coming weeks, according to the firm.
  • Unstoppable Domains recently went into partnership with Protocol Labs, launching a decentralized censorship-resistant blogging platform on June 11.
  • The firm is backed by Draper Associates and Boost VC, and has received grants from the Ethereum and Zilliqa Foundations.

DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.