Published On June 3, 2013
Bitmessage is like Bitcoin in that it is a decentralized, peer-to-peer protocol. Unlike using an add-on component for email similar like Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), Bitmessage is a unified system that encrypts every message. The whole point of the platform is to keep your communications secure. And on top of that, it keeps secure the members of the communication: not only is the content of messages protected, but the sender and receiver of those messages is kept secret as well.
According to the official Bitmessage whitepaper, even those who use encryption standards such as PGP find it an overwhelming process. In this way, one can think about Bitmessage as a decentralized email server.
Up until now, the way in which we have used email systems has really not changed much over the years. But then, this idea came along. Bitmessage runs as a client on your computer — for now, there is not a web-based client.
Like Bitcoin Without the Blockchain
Jonathan Warren, a New York-based developer who authored the Bitmessage whitepaper,
says the system has a lot of similarities to Bitcoin: “Bitmessage and Bitcoin share the same message relay mechanism and the same address encoding mechanism but Bitmessage has no blockchain.”
The blockchain is the general ledger that allows the Bitcoin system to validate transactions. Since Bitmessage instead involves exchanging messages, it doesn’t need a ledger … which would actually show the communications between addresses. (Some point to Bitcoin’s ledger as a possible detriment, since one can follow transactions through addresses that appear on the blockchain.)
Instead of such a system, Bitmessage uses math to verify messages, keeping over two days worth of encrypted messages within the distributed system at any given time.
To obscure addresses in Bitmessage, the system uses a non-identifiable address that will look very familiar to Bitcoin users. That’s one of the reasons why Bitmessage could become useful: other forms of communications have become so transparent that there’s a need for an alternative with more privacy and security.Ostensibly, this system works like Bitcoin: transmissions are secure and cannot be fabricated. Messages are encrypted with the public key of the recipient. And a proof-of-work system means that the Bitmessage client must solve a computational problem to send a message. This in theory would prevent one of the major problems with regular email: spam.Full articleBitmessage