Stealthy Blockchain Messaging App By Blockstack To Create WeChat Of dApps
Messaging App Stealthy Wants to Create WeChat on the Blockchain
Stealthy is a new messaging app that uses Blockstack’s decentralized app platform. The company launched its app on iOS and Android last week after participating in TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield at Disrupt San Francisco.
At first glance, Stealthy seems to work like most messaging apps out there. However, unlike a traditional messaging app, Stealthy is based on the blockchain – and that means huge changes on the back-end and technical side of things.
Calling Stealthy “just” a messaging app is slightly unfair. The development team aims to position Stealthy as the WeChat of the blockchain messaging space. It’s a decentralized platform built with privacy in mind.
As a TechCrunch writeup on the app explains, “It could become the glue that makes various decentralized applications stick together”:
“We started Stealthy because Blockstack had a global hackathon in December of last year,” explained Stealthy co-founder Prabhaav Bhardwaj in an interview with TechCrunch. “We won that hackathon in February.”
Stealthy’s developers were also motivated after seeing trends like the #deletefacebook movement combined with the push towards decentralization. Stealthy’s co-founders realized their app could be something special.
How Does Stealthy Work?
With Stealthy’s messaging app, Blockstack manages your identity. You get an identity and a 12 word passphrase you can use to recover your account.
Blockstack then creates a blockchain record for each new user, and you use your Blockstack ID to connect to Stealthy. Stealthy users can choose how they want to store their messages – say, with Dropbox, Microsoft Azure, or Amazon Web Services.
When you message someone on Stealthy, the message is encrypted on your device first, then sent to your recipient’s chosen cloud provider. Your recipient can open the Stealthy app, then decrypt the message from their cloud storage system.
All of this takes place behind the scenes for the end user. As far as you can tell, you’re just sending a message from your phone to someone else’s, just like you would use any messaging app.
Stealthy works similar to an iMessage conversation. Microsoft and Amazon cannot open and read your messages even as they pass through their servers. The only person who can read your message is the one with the private key for that message – the recipient.
Stealthy wants to make their protocol and mobile app open source, allowing anyone to audit their code to verify that Stealthy doesn’t track any messages between users.
Stealthy Isn’t Totally Decentralized
Creating a totally decentralized messaging app is a bit of a pointless endeavor. Stealthy has some features that require centralization.
Stealthy uses Firebase for push notifications, for example. However, you can disable that feature if you’re uncomfortable.
The company also wants to become a central hub for all sorts of decentralized apps. You can launch Graphite Docs or Blockusign from Stealthy, for example. These decentralized apps are built on top of Blockstack. In the future, Stealthy plans to integrate other decentralized apps that aren’t built on Blockstack. If someone wants to add a messaging sticker app to Stealthy, for example, then they can do that.
The Goal is to Create “A Decentralized WeChat with the Encryption Features of Signal”
TechCrunch’s writeup on Stealthy summed it up best by saying that Stealthy was “trying to build a decentralized WeChat with the encryption features of Signal.” It’s an ambitious project, but one that is possible thanks to blockchain technology.
It’s also easy to see how Stealthy’s messaging protocol could extend to other use cases. Most major apps have some type of messaging feature. Stealthy could be the end-to-end, decentralized, encrypted solution the DApp community needs.
— SimpleID 🛠 (@stealthyinc) September 5, 2018