What does on-chain messaging mean for the way we communicate?
On-chain, blockchain-based messaging offers a new way to communicate that is both secure and private. With on-chain messaging, each message could potentially be encrypted and stored on the blockchain, ensuring that it can only be read by the intended recipient, making on-chain messaging ideal for sensitive communications, such as financial transactions or legal agreements.
If you are entering into a financial transaction with someone, you may want to use on-chain messaging to ensure that the terms of the agreement are securely stored and cannot be changed or deleted.
In most conversations, on-chain messages are unnecessary. If you are sending a message to one specific person, you do not need the message to be replicated to many nodes across the world and stored permanently. Encrypted messages created with a p2p framework, secured through the blockchain, with message content stored on a service such as Arweave or IPFS, can be a perfect solution for certain types of communication.
But in some edge cases, in situations where valid, un-hackable communication is paramount, on-chain messaging could offer a solution. For journalists communicating with confidential sources, for example, or businesses sharing sensitive information, on-chain messaging could provide a much-needed level of security. Non-custodial messaging, no matter how secure or encrypted it is pitched to be, will always be beholden to a particular region's privacy and rights laws and the whims of the platform on which it is hosted. However, a blockchain-based solution could offer a way to circumvent these issues.
I think an even more exciting use case will be found in immutable public messaging. When communication is intended to be fully transparent and viewable by anyone, anywhere, keeping the conversing parties accountable and providing valuable context for future generations will be a clear benefit of messaging through a public ledger.
This could be useful for political campaigns, where every move and statement is under public scrutiny, or for DAOs who want to be completely transparent with their investors. Creating and storing an accessible message log on the blockchain could make it impossible to delete or tamper with past communications, giving everyone a complete and accurate picture.
In a world where fake news and deep fakes are becoming more and more common, on-chain messaging could offer a solution for creating and storing communications that cannot be tampered with or deleted.
On-chain messaging is not without its challenges - the biggest of which is likely to be scalability. As more and more people begin to use on-chain messaging, the demand for processing power and storage will increase, and the network will need to handle these requests efficiently. But if on-chain messaging can overcome these challenges, it can potentially change the way we communicate forever.
On-chain messaging is still in its infancy, and it remains to be seen how it will be used in the future. As technology matures, I think we will see more and more use-cases.
There are already a few blockchain-based messaging platforms in development, such as Status, built on the Ethereum blockchain, and Dust, built on the Bitcoin blockchain. These platforms are still in their early stages of development, and it remains to be seen how they will evolve. But if on-chain messaging does take off, it could significantly impact the way we communicate.
Do you think on-chain messaging is a good idea? Would you use a blockchain-based messaging platform?