Building An Engine for Decentralized Communications

July 30, 2014

Why do we need another chat application? It’s a legitimate question. Even better: What can BitTorrent offer that isn’t already available?

Well, let’s take a look at this category. Messaging and voice applications currently available all rely on central servers. These central repositories of metadata are the target of choice for snooping government agencies and hackers alike.

Now, consider that at BitTorrent our engineers have over a decade of experience building products for millions of users based on decentralized infrastructure. This has given us the unique expertise to build a communications platform and product with a strong distinction from the current offerings: no servers required.

Enter BitTorrent Bleep.

As the head of the product on BitTorrent Bleep I have the privilege of sharing a snapshot of how it is being built. There are two main components to its architecture:

  1. Our new peer-to-peer platform for communications; think of it as a fully distributed SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) server which serves as an engine for Bleep

  2. The User Interface, a chat and voice application, which is an enhanced SIP compliant client UAC (User Agent Client) with additional functionalities being added over time to provide a great messaging experience

The engine for Bleep has been built to serve as the back-end to any chat and voice application, offering the potential to change how people all around the world communicate.

051414-chat-infographic
Many messaging apps advertising privacy and security by offering end-to-end encryption for messages. But when it comes to handling metadata, they are still leaving their users exposed.

We reimagined how modern messaging should work. Our platform enables us to offer features in Bleep that are unique and meaningfully different from what is currently available:

  • No central repository of metadata.  BitTorrent does not track or store information on who is communicating with whom, or when communications happen. We are not even storing data temporarily on servers and then deleting it. We never have the metadata in the first place.

  • No central lookup. Person A finds Person B through other nodes in the network. We never track or store who is looking for whom.

  • All links are encrypted.  We are using secure encryption protocols such as curve25519, ed25519 , salsa20, poly1305, and others. Links between nodes are encrypted. All communication is end to end encrypted. This should be the new normal in the post-Snowden era.

And then we built Bleep as a consumer application. One that will use this infrastructure to allow a messaging experience for people to speak freely without worrying about who might be eavesdropping. And, as we recently discussed, these eavesdroppers may simply be nosey friends trying to listen in on personal conversations.

So why BitTorrent Bleep? Because it is our next step in creating an open Internet, powered by people.

– Farid
Follow Farid on Twitter: @ffadaie

For support issues with the Bleep Pre-Alpha, please go to the Bleep Forum.

If you’re interested in learning more about the engine behind Bleep for your messaging app, contact us: bizdev@bittorrent.com

For more information on the Bleep Pre-Alpha, please read: BitTorrent’s Chat Client Unveiled: BitTorrent Bleep Now in Invite Only Pre-Alpha

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