Increasing Popularity of Messaging Applications
Communication is unquestionably indispensable to us. Thanks to the advances in technology, it is easier than ever to connect with each other. As of April 2022, there are approximately 5 billion Internet users all over the world, of which 4.65 billion are active users in social media including messaging platforms. In fact, messaging platforms rank first among the top types of websites visited and applications used: the percentage of Internet users aged 16 to 64 going there in the past month is 95.7%, well over the figure for social networks and far higher than those for other digital properties such as search engines, shopping sites, maps, email, music. Every minute in 2021, nearly 70 million messages were shared via WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger only.
The usage of messaging platforms is further facilitated by recent developments. They include the year-over-year growth in the total number of Internet users (more than 500,000 new users each day, on average), the improvement in both mobile and fixed-line Internet connection speed (around 40% faster every year), the immense popularity of smartphones (96.2% of Internet users aged 16-64 owning at least one), among other factors.
Problems with Current Messaging Applications
Essentially, messaging applications serve as intermediaries who get data from the sender and transmit it to the recipient. Such a process raises concern among the application users, especially those who frequently exchange secrets or financial information via messages: can and will their conversations be eavesdropped on and their messages be collected by any outsiders or even the service providers?
To address the concern, some recent messaging applications have introduced the end-to-end encryption (E2EE) feature. Person A and person B in a conversation each holds an asymmetric key pair comprised of a public and a private key. Every message of A will be encrypted with the public key of B before being sent. Upon receipt, the data will be decrypted with B’s private key, and the original message remains untampered throughout the process. Without B’s private key, no one can read the information that A sends. Better still, it is impossible to perform brute-force attacks to guess B’s private key since the total number of keys is enormous. Therefore, information sent between A and B is secured against man-in-the-middle attacks and is of no value to any third party including the service providers.
However, in most products using E2EE, private chat or secret messaging is available only to direct chats (1-1 conversations). As a result, group communication is acutely vulnerable to attacks. Furthermore, those applications still require users’ personal information such as phone numbers to create accounts. For that reason, users’ personal information is visible to one another and easily becomes the target of data collection even at a large scale by different parties for different purposes. Whatever purpose it may be, data collection activities are normally done without users’ knowledge and consent and is a violation of privacy and security.
To bring security and privacy while still ensuring convenience for users, Ready builds a messaging solution using blockchain and traditional servers so that any user can easily initiate and join conversations no matter what chains they have wallets on. Ready does not collect any personal information from users upon account registration or in any other subsequent steps. Instead, Ready gives them options of pseudonymous names with random chat addresses. Users will be identified through such names, and the addresses will be used for communication activities. As a result, user information is kept completely confidential. It is worth noting that users’ wallet activities are independent of their chatting activities.
Ready users have 3 options of communication: 1-1, (public and private) group, and (public and private) channel.
- In public groups and public channels, messages are public, not encrypted. They can be read by any Ready user.
- In 1-1 conversations, private groups, and private channels, all messages are encrypted with each user's public key. If both the sender and the recipient are online, Ready does not store user messages but serves purely as an intermediary to forward messages. If either party is offline, Ready will store unread messages for 90 days, after which the messages will be deleted. All messages are encrypted and only the recipient can decrypt them; therefore, storing messages on Ready does not pose the risk of data breaches to them. Rather, Ready can offer higher speed, more efficiency, and better convenience without compromising security.