Last updated on October 25th, 2017 at 11:56 pm
There’s a new decentralized chat application that uses Bitcoin’s blockchain technology, and the company claims it’s more secure than ProtonMail and more private than BitTorrent Bleep.
It’s called XChat and it’s labeled as a “next-gen messaging app” with industry-leading privacy and security features.
XChat is part of the XCurrency platform, which is founded on the Xnode communication protocol. The entirely peer-to-peer messaging application relies on no centralized servers whatsoever and offers end-to-end AES256 encryption, so it’s nearly impossible to decipher messages. Unlike ProtonMail, no government can seize XChat’s servers because no central servers exist.
And even BitTorrent uses centralized servers to look up and locate users, so XChat has that beat too.
And if you want to step up your privacy a little more, you can purchase a physical device called the XC TOR Stick, which uses Tor to hide your IP address.
To send messages to people, all you have to do is enter a recipient address (similar to a phone number) and their public key.
The chat client is part of the XCurrency platform, which is a three-month-old Bitcoin 2.0 platform “for flexible digital transactions.” It claims to be more anonymous than Bitcoin, using Tor and a built in mixing tool. The company announced that they will soon be offering a substantial bounty to anyone who can provably beat XC’s anonymity.
“Due to its newness there is currently a lack of technical documentation of its design.” A white paper will be released soon according to their press release.
It should be noted that, while the company says they are committed to an open source model, the protocol is currently closed source.
“XC makes code available on a delayed timeline. This way, the community will derive the benefit of XC’s ground-breaking technologies, while reducing the incentive for developers to flood the marketplace with clones that lack a long term future.”
XChat features are as follows:
XChat communication is encrypted from end to end with AES256 so that no third party can decipher a message. In fact, it would take more processing power than the entire internet to break XChat’s encryption! This makes it impossible (i.e. computationally infeasible) for anyone to snoop on messages, so privacy is assured.
IP ADDRESSES KEPT SECRET
For anyone who does not want to reveal their location, XChat can be run from the XC TOR Stick, which incorporates a TOR node that obfuscates your IP address. In addition, the TOR Stick runs inside the TOR network so that it does not use exit nodes. This means that packet sniffers are useless against XChat as there are no incoming and outgoing packets to be matched. Even if a message is sent to a recipient outside TOR, the message originates inside the network and so there is only an outgoing packet, again flouting packet sniffers. In this way, XChat avoids common vulnerabilities of TOR.
NO DATA STORED ON COMPUTER
The TOR Stick is, effectively, its own operating system. Based on Debian and similar to Tails, it comes either on a flash drive or as an ISO which you’d run in a virtualised environment, and it only uses a computer’s RAM. When you’re finished using it, no trace of your activity is left on the computer. This also makes it malware-free.
RECEIVING ADDRESSES OBFUSCATED
If this is not enough, soon XC will add yet another layer of privacy. XChat addresses are soon to be implemented as “stealth addresses”. Someone can send a payment to an XC address, but it will be received on a different address that not even the sender knows. As such, one can publicly display XChat address as a kind of cryptographic “business card” for both payments and messages, without any link to it existing on the blockchain.