Meet Stealthy, a new messaging application that takes advantage of Blockstack's decentralized application platform to create a messaging application. The company is participating in TechCrunch Startup Battlefield in Disrupt SF and launching its application on iOS and Android today.
On the surface, Stealthy works like many messaging applications. But it becomes interesting once you start digging to understand the protocol behind this. Stealthy is a decentralized platform with privacy in mind. It could become the glue that makes several decentralized applications stay together.
"We started Stealth because Blockstack had a global hackathon in December of last year," co-founder Prabhaav Bhardwaj told me. "We won that hackathon in February." After that, the #deletefacebook movement combined with the general trend of decentralization motivated Bhardwaj and Alex Carreira to send the application.
Blockstack manages your identity. You get an ID and a 12 word password phrase to recover your account. Blockstack creates a blockchain record for each new user. You use your Blockstack ID to connect to Stealthy.
Furtive users then choose how they want to store their messages. You can connect your account with Dropbox, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, etc.
Each time you send a message to someone, the message is first encrypted on your device and sent to the cloud provider of the recipient. The recipient can open the Stealthy application and decrypt the message from their storage system.
All this is perfect for the end user. It works like an iMessage conversation, which means that Microsoft or Amazon can not open and read your messages without your private key. You keep control of your data. Stealthy plans to open its protocol of origin and mobile product so that anyone can audit its code.
Some functions require a certain level of centralization. For example, Stealthy relies on Firebase for push notifications. If you do not feel comfortable with that, you can disable that function.
The company also wants to become its center of operations for all kinds of decentralized applications (or dapps for short). For example, you can open Graphite Docs or Blockusign from Stealty. Those dapps are also created over Blockstack, but Stealthy plans to integrate with other dapps that do not work in Blockstack.
"Now we have implemented dapp implementations and we want to facilitate the integration of dapp .. If someone wants to enter and start selling adhesive labels, you can do it If you want to enter and implement a payment system to pay bloggers, you could do it" said Bhardwaj. "Eventually, what we want is to make it as easy as sending an application in the App Store."
When you build a digital product, you're likely to end up adding a messaging feature at some point. You can chat on Google Docs, Airbnb, Venmo, YouTube … And the same is likely to be true with dapps. Stealthy believes that many developers could benefit from a strong communication infrastructure: in this way, other companies can focus on their core products and let Stealthy handle the communication layer.
Stealthy is an ambitious company. In many ways, the startup is trying to build a decentralized WeChat with Signal's encryption features. It is a messaging application, but it is also a platform for many other use cases.
A handful of messaging applications have become so powerful that they have become a weakness. Governments can block or take advantage of them to create a social classification. The authorities can obtain an order to ask the technology companies to provide them with data. And, of course, the major technology companies have become too powerful. More decentralization is always a good thing.