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.
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