April 11, 2019

Blockchain privacy platform to take secure communications beyond end-to-end encryption

By Lucy Ingham

A newly announced blockchain privacy platform is seeking to bring secure communications to the next level by not only offering end-to-end encryption but full protection of metadata.

While popular secure messaging applications such as Facebook-owned WhatsApp have championed the concept of private browsing via end-to-end encryption, metadata has so far remained relatively ignored. This is despite metadata providing information about a message’s sender and recipient, as well as the time and location it is sent from.

Dubbed Elixxir, the blockchain privacy platform is designed to tackle this issue. It has been launched by David Chaum, a computer scientist and cryptographer dubbed the “father of online privacy” for his work on anonymous communications who invented DigiCash, often referred to as the first cryptocurrency.

Chaum has been highly vocal about the shortcomings of the allegedly secure WhatsApp, accusing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg  of “fooling those mostly young people he says are moving off newsfeed to messaging into believing that end-to-end encryption means privacy”.

The blockchain privacy platform advancing secure communications

Elixxir is designed to improve on communications platforms built solely on end-to-end encryption by also obscuring metadata.

This means that outside parties can not only not see the contents of the messages sent over the platform, but cannot see who they are sent to and from, when they were sent or where from.

The technology is built on the Elixxir blockchain invented by Chaum. It uses precomputation to create a mix network framework before the message is sent, which effectively obscures its metadata as it is being transmitted.

While the technology has been running in alpha for some time, the news today sees it transition to a BetaNet that is supported by node operators across six different continents. This will ensure all messages are effectively secured and obscured, while maintaining the speed and efficiency required for instant communications.

Read more: Introducing the Internet of Blockchains: How the Cosmos Network makes blockchain truly scalable


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