In March 2020 at the Coingeek conference, blockchain-based Twitter competitor Twetch announced its intention to build a privacy-focused feature for the social networking tool. Today, it announced that it has launched Twetch Chat for the platform.
Twetch Chat is a fully encrypted messaging platform that allows its users to chat privately with anybody on Twetch. Twetch Chat is encrypted using Bitcoin (BSV), AES, and ECIES. Chats are encrypted using your Bitcoin private keys and are private and only accessible to you and those you permit.
You can transfer large or small amounts of digital cash to your connections through the chat platform using Bitcoin (BSV) for ‘fren2fren’ payments.
Users always own their data and can give permission to decrypt their messages by starting a conversation with someone, or a group of people. Furthermore, they can revoke permission by leaving a group chat, which will delete all their messages and render them inaccessible
There are two main ECC encryption types used as well as an additional symmetrical cipher. There is an ECDH (Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellmann), a means by which two parties can safely derive a shared secret over an unsecured communication channel which is most useful in two-party encryption applications.
There is also an ECIES (Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme). ECIES is an encryption scheme, enabling a sender to encrypt a message to a public key that only the holder of its corresponding private key can decrypt, which is also most useful in single- party encryption applications.
Finally, there is AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). This is a symmetrical cipher that enables fast, lean encryption/decryption of data using a single, deterministic secret which is most useful in multi-party encryption applications.
This combination of algorithms means that there is a high level of flexibility and security without compromising on any of the company’s goals or values for its community.
There is a one-time cost of $9.99 to access the feature, but once you have purchased the app, you do not have any further costs.
If someone sends you a chat message, you can respond at no cost and there is no character limit for chats. You can also refer a friend to join the feature and earn a couple of dollars per referral.
Josh Petty, CEO of Twetch says that the encryption in Twetch Chat represents a “significant breakthrough in this area, allowing users to control and profit from their data while protecting it from third parties, including Twetch itself.”
The platform is committed to integrating with as many services as possible and providing a great UX to display the possibilities of what can be done on Bitcoin.
This in itself, has its own set of unique challenges, especially when it comes to handling sensitive information in a way that is compatible with complete data mobility, whilst integrating with existing wallet providers, each with unique capability sets.
Until recently, it was not possible to provide such a service without becoming a Bitcoin wallet company. However, thanks to the growing support of ECIES encryption and decryption functions across the major wallets, it has now become possible to solve this problem consistently.
Right from its early beta days, the platform’s main mission has been to “free your data and help you own and profit from it.” In addition to Twetch being a platform for entertainment and discussion, it has also evolved to become a popular platform for networking and doing business within the Bitcoin community.
With the release of Twetch Chat, Petty believes that users now can find people they want to work or collaborate within the public domain, engage with them to narrow down the details of their deal in private and use the /pay feature to pay them for their work.
They can chat privately to protect their arrangement or post publicly to signal to others that they have done a good job, boosting the network effect of both parties and encouraging others to work with them. Petty told me that about 200 people have already paid for access to Twetch Chat.
When you first sign into Twetch the platform automatically generates a unique, random 12-word seed in their browser that only the user can access. The user’s browser also generates the public key of the m/0/0 derivation path of these 12 words.
The 12-word seed is then ECIES encrypted in the browser to all of the users’ linked wallets via the public key provided in their respective PayMails and saved on Twetch’s servers with the associated public key so they can be addressed and decrypted by the user’s wallet at a later date.
On any additional logins to Twetch, the encrypted string of these 12 keys will be provided back to the user for them to decrypt with their respective wallet.
This enables Twetch to make use of advanced cryptographic functions without ever being in the custody of our users’ plaintext keys or funds. Twetch has no way to break encryption, monitor our users, or be in possession of their money.
The Twetch chat feature relies upon the public key of the user’s Twetch Encryption Keys to safely distribute ECIES-encrypted AES ciphers stored on its servers.
When a chat is initiated between two or more participants, the initiator of the chat generates an AES cipher. The cipher is then ECIES encrypted by the initiator of the chat in their browser to the public keys of all chat participants and saved on Twetch’s servers.
Upon joining a chat, participants can then decrypt the AES cipher to be able to read and send AES encrypted messages to other participants in the chat. Twetch stores users’ messages fully encrypted on our servers.
If a user is removed from a chat, they will no longer be able to restore these messages from Twetch’s servers, and if all participants leave a chat, all messages are permanently deleted and will be unrecoverable.
“Twetch chat shows where the world is moving in terms of data privacy, data control, and digital identity. Unlike legacy internet services, Twetch offloads key management to the user’s account (which is a Bitcoin wallet). It is a step toward breaking up the big tech data monopoly. Providing online identities allows users to have full control of the information they create, log in anywhere with their private keys, and take their data (followers, likes, reputation) with them.”
Twetch with its Chat feature is certainly the social platform to watch right now. Paying to post across your social platforms will make sure that you take care of what you post, and it will eliminate trolls and spammers. It is the way forward for certain.
Disclaimer: I have never bought or sold any types of Bitcoin, nor processed any blockchain transactions.