Today’s internet is an internet of walled-gardens. No amount of regulations can solve the root cause of the data ownership, online identity and privacy problems we all face. As we spend more and more time online, every interaction we have, every bit of data we generate forms a part of our identity and is a piece of digital asset that rightfully belongs to us. Yet, there is no easy way to take our own digital assets and identity across applications and platforms. For innovators and builders, this means they are always at a disadvantage compared to the incumbents, as data ownership is the new oil. The lack of ability for users to easily bring their digital footprint across applications and platforms means there is tremendous inertia when it comes to migrating to new platforms. This is especially true when it comes to social applications.
The current internet communications protocols have no ability to enable true ownership, easy storage, and seamless transfer of our digital identity/footprint/assets. Web3’s full potential can only be unleashed with a new communications infrastructure where decentralized message relay, secure data ownership, and easy transfer of digital assets are part of the foundation from day one.
This is what we have been tirelessly building in the past year. Sending.Network is an open, secure Web3 communications protocol that powers decentralized user interactions, enabling users to chat, trade and socialize seamlessly within and across applications and platforms.
Composability is key in the new open world. With Sending.Network’s SDK, developers can easily integrate social features such as in-app/ cross-app chat and notifications, wallet and Decentralized ID (DID) login, NFT trading and management. With these easy-to-install next generation communications features, developers can focus on creating amazing user journeys for their core product, be it gaming, wallet or other yet-to-be-created DApps.
Sending.Network aims to bring high-performance Web3 communications solutions into any existing web or mobile application. This blog post describes some of its features. A fuller description will be provided via our website’s documentation section, to be released shortly.
Controlling one’s online identity
There are plenty of mature Web2 messaging solutions, forming walled gardens of ecosystems; but users are never actually “free” to seamlessly engage with those outside an ecosystem. Centralization also brings a certain loss of privacy, as the platform can sniff user information, usually for monetization. In Web2 solutions, users often need new identities for each platform, and never really control those IDs, as a centralized platform can easily change the rules of engagement and even ban the account.
Web3’s goal of being censorship resistant requires that users retain complete control of their online identity and data. Sending.Network uses wallet-based IDs that are controlled by a user’s private key, ensuring that the user fully owns their account across multiple platforms and DApps. These are registered on the blockchain as NFTs, without the need for a central registry. Users can use the Ethereum Name Service to convert these wallet addresses to names they can use to interact with other users and DApps.
Wallets are the crypto hubs between Dapps and users. As we advance in the Web3 world, the demand for communications between blockchain accounts will increase, as more and more users participate.
Sending.Network provides encrypted wallet-to-wallet communications, including one-on-one chat, group chat, and real-time voice and video communications. Users are free to share videos, images and files across the network.
Traditional Web2 chat applications can provide good community support for games, but their isolated account systems create barriers to the free flow of messages and assets. In the Web3 world, chat is not just about sending and receiving messages but a means to facilitate asset trading, e.g., in-game NFTs. Imagine your dream NFT is right in front of you, sitting in a wallet address, and you are ready to make a generous offer. But how can you contact the owner? There is no email or cell phone number to use. Wallet-to-wallet messaging enables you to start negotiating with the NFT owner at once.
Built as a crypto native protocol, Sending.Network’s wallet-based Decentralized ID, which is inherently public, supports an assets negotiation and exchange environment that no centralized chat solution can accomplish.
Private communications and storage
Sending.Network uses an encryption system that is specifically designed for p2p networking, so that only authorized users can decrypt the relevant content. It is especially suited for scenarios where message latency is critical, such as a game or asset trading, where a second or two delay can lead to losing a game or a drop in an investor’s portfolio.
Beyond the basic end-to-end encryption of data in transit, Sending.Network protects all message metadata (i.e., the locations and identities of the sender and receiver, the message timestamps, the duration, etc.) that transits its peer-to-peer (p2p) network.
Data at rest, such as account information and social networking data, is protected by using the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) for reliable, decentralized and secure storage. Only the user determines what is shared.
Sending.Network provides a universal inbox to receive messages from DApps and wallets. This allows users to receive time-sensitive DApp notifications, such as an NFT floor price drop or an imminent liquidation of a lending protocol’s position. Or, a decentralized exchange can send a notice to its users when the desired gas price is reached, or an NFT marketplace send heads-up notifications of NFT auctions, saving users from regularly checking for updates. There are many such user scenarios for this type of communications.
Sending.Network supports a variety of clients, both desktop and mobile, including iOS, Android, MacOS, Linux and HTML5. Users can access their account wherever they are.
Three types of nodes form Sending.Network, as shown in the figure. Client nodes are instant messaging nodes installed on user devices, while the edge nodes are responsible for message relaying and offline storage. At the base layer, users back up their social graph data on a blockchain.
Messages between on-line wallets (client instances) are delivered directly, without involving any other nodes. Off-line wallets use the edge nodes they have chosen to cache received messages. Unlike the traditional client-server model, an edge node does no processing except to cache data for its off-line clients and forward messages according to the routing protocol. The client handles the data processing and persistent storage instead of a centralized server, preventing third-parties from snooping on the user’s private data.
As the backbone of the p2p network, edge nodes can be further divided into ordinary and high-speed nodes, the latter with higher network bandwidth. All nodes in the network, whether client or edge node, are connected using three p2p network protocols. One, which is much like current p2p protocols, has large throughput and high latency. This is used for general purpose messaging, and maintenance and operations of the infrastructure. The second, a fast routing protocol, uses the high bandwidth routing and edge nodes to minimize communication latencies. And the third, an anonymous routing protocol, is used for user communication where enhanced privacy protection is paramount.
Taken together, the clients and the high-performance edge nodes create the robust p2p network required to support a wide variety of Web3 use cases.
Sending.Network is a native Web3 communications protocol built on a blockchain-based, decentralized architecture. Our mission is to enable any applications the ability to easily incorporate high performance, secure and open social features for their users.
We will do a deeper dive into the various features in upcoming posts. In the meantime, if you are interested in incorporating Sending.Network’s features into our applications, sign up for Early Access to our SDK on our home page.