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How the Lighting Network Could Improve Encrypted Messaging

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“…using a network of…micropayment channels, Bitcoin can scale to billions of transactions per day with the computational power available on a modern desktop computer today. Sending many payments inside a given micropayment channel enables one to send large amounts of funds to another party in a decentralized manner.”

Thus reads “The Bitcoin Lightning Network” white paper, the seminal document for Bitcoin’s secondary payment network written by Thaddeus Dryja and Joseph Poon. This 2016 paper would refocus the debate on scaling, as notions of bigger blocks and on-chain growth largely gave way to a new network of payment channels and deferred on-chain settlement.

But who would have thought that some four years later, developers would look toward the Lightning Network not just as a payments solution, but as a new delivery method for encrypted messaging too?

Well, apparently a handful of forward-thinking Bitcoin developers: namely, Joost Jager and Paul Itoi.

Both Jager and Itoi have cooked up interesting methods for Lightning-powered messaging, though each use different technical mechanisms for transmissions. They’re also disseminating their solutions differently, with Itoi and his team launching its Sphinx Chat as an application and Jager releasing the source code for his Whatsat to the public directly.

We covered how these messaging apps work at the end of 2019. The TLDR: A recent update to Lightning has allowed for certain extra, arbitrary data to be added to Lightning transactions. For these use cases, these data would be messages, which can be sent directly to a peer for no cost or routed through the network for a small fee just like typical Lightning transactions. 

But why would you default to these protocols and not to other encrypted messaging options?

The answer lies in what Lightning messaging can offer that traditional encrypted options can’t.

Decentralized Pigeons

Some historical trivia: Messenger pigeons were one of many forms of communication in World War I. Especially popular among tank crews (who lacked other reliable forms of communication as radios were crude at this point in history), the messenger pigeon was a failsafe for when other options, like telephones, signal flares or runners, had failed or weren’t available.

But messenger pigeons were vulnerable. Knowing they carried vital messages, enemy soldiers would have an open season with these unfortunate high-soaring couriers. Of course, there was an answer to such setbacks: encryption.

Indeed, encrypted messaging would play a crucial role in World War I and many other wars. This, more or less, solved the problem of interception (if the enemy couldn’t decrypt the cipher, then it was useless, whether he got hold of it or not).

Come the 21st century and encryption has arrived at the forefront of national cybersecurity debates. For instance, some government officials have called for encrypted backdoors in mainstream consumer technology in the interest of “national security.”

And therein lies the problem. In WWI, the pigeons themselves were just the vessels for transmitting messages; in case anyone needed reminding, they didn’t produce the encrypted message themselves nor the keys to decrypt it — that was the job of military intelligence. 

But with electronic communication, the messaging app itself produces the means for encrypting the messages you send. So, in many cases, unless you or someone with the technical chops can review and verify the code, the application you use for encrypted chatting is only as secret as the app developer’s ability to keep their promise. This is why most Bitcoiners only trust open-source applications like Signal as being secure, while others like WhatsApp and Telegram are not to be trusted as such.

So, with traditional encrypted messengers, you often have the problem of a single point of failure. You are trusting a centralized entity (whose code you haven’t reviewed) at its word that the messages you send can only be decrypted by you and the recipient — that no backdoors exist. And you are also betting that governments won’t pressure these companies into giving them access (or that they already have).

Conversely, Lightning Network messaging relies on the infrastructure of Bitcoin’s decentralized secondary network. With some 11,000 (known) public nodes, Lightning Network messages are routed through this Tor-like network without any central arbiter. By setting up a direct channel with your recipient, you can beam the message directly to them without having to pass through an intermediary node at all. 

As Jager told Bitcoin Magazine in November 2019, there’s no central pillar that you can knockdown to compromise Lightning Network encrypted chatting.

“The difference is that there is no central server involved,” he said. “No single kill switch that could be used to shut down all communications. Or that is used more selectively to deny certain users to communicate.”

Private Pigeons 

As an extension, Lightning messages also have the benefit of being more private.

This follows the same line of argument that leads people to say Lightning transactions would also be more private. Since they are basically onion network-routed, the path for each message would be lost in the hops it takes on the network. The only way this may be compromised is if one node were responsible for, say, 50 percent or more of a message’s routing — a real possibility if the path from sender to receiver includes fewer mutually connected peers than not.

So in some cases, it may be better privacy-wise to set up direct payment channels for your messaging.

“Chatting over Lightning also makes it much harder to find out who is communicating with whom,” Jager said. “It is not required to have a direct (observable) TCP/IP connection between users and there is no central server either that could reconstruct the communication pathways.”

Of course, as we mentioned above, routed messages could still theoretically be deanonymized. But, as Jager said, “[p]rivacy and security are relative concepts.” 

This still could be more private than legacy options, and even if a node knows who the sender is, it still can’t intercept or decode their message.

Clunky Pigeons

Ultimately, Lightning messaging has a leg up against traditional encrypted chat when it comes to censorship-resistance and privacy. 

But this doesn’t mean that it’s perfect or that people will view it as the more attractive alternative. As we have seen with Bitcoin and FOSS writ large, the decentralized option is usually the most difficult to implement at scale and can be the most difficult to grasp for novice users. 

Still, devising a scheme that handles both messaging and payments under one roof could be a killer app, Jager thinks. Even more important is architecting a permissionless and censorship-resistant means of communication; in fact, decentralized money would likely necessitate such a tool, just as it would require decentralized identity.  

“The key benefit is integrating the ability to pay and communicate under one identity,” Jager said. “Our core belief: the privacy and censorship resistance that Lightning provides for payments should apply equally to speech. Using Lightning for chat will accelerate the adoption of bitcoin as a medium of exchange.”

So will Bitcoiners and the public beyond flock to Lightning messaging? With Sphinx Chat currently in closed beta, we’ll soon find out if this alternative lives up to the expectations and/or is as seamless to use as the alternatives. Jager believes that people will default to a Lightning-based alternative as snafus like the Equifax breach (and the creeping reality that the code for encrypted chat services will have backdoors built into their design) engenders distrust in centralized services. 

So, with the fate of private online communications up in the air, Lightning’s new use case may prove essential for establishing online sovereignty in an age of ever-increasing government surveillance.

The post How the Lighting Network Could Improve Encrypted Messaging appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/how-the-lighting-network-could-improve-encrypted-messaging?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-the-lighting-network-could-improve-encrypted-messaging

Blockchain

TikTok Avoids US Shutdown as Oracle, Walmart Swoop In

TikTok will live to see another day in the United States.  President Trump has approved a deal between TikTok owner ByteDance, Oracle and Walmart, which averts the ban that was to take effect on Sept. 20. The ban, which would have prevented all downloads of the app in U.S. app stores, has now been postponed […]

The post TikTok Avoids US Shutdown as Oracle, Walmart Swoop In appeared first on BeInCrypto.

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TikTok will live to see another day in the United States.

President Trump has approved a deal between TikTok owner ByteDance, Oracle and Walmart, which averts the ban that was to take effect on Sept. 20. The ban, which would have prevented all downloads of the app in U.S. app stores, has now been postponed by one week.

In a statement, the  Commerce Department indicated that the restrictions are now slated to come into effect at 11.59 p.m. on Sept. 27. According to a CNN report, the deal maintains ByteDance as TikTok’s majority shareholder, with Oracle and Walmart cumulatively controlling 20 percent of the company.

Ownership and Data Access Issues

According to a Bloomberg report, ByteDance is seeking a $60 billion TikTok Global valuation, with the app’s U.S. operations alone valued at over $50 billion. This would mean that Walmart would pay $4.5 billion for its proposed 7.5 percent stake and Oracle would pay $7.5 billion for its prospective 12.5 percent stake.

The report further reveals that the deal’s final valuation and payment structures have not been agreed on yet because negotiations regarding equity structure and data security are still ongoing. Both Beijing and Washington are yet to fully agree on what parties get access to what part of TikTok’s valuable proprietary technology, such as recommendation algorithms.

According to Bloomberg, Chinese authorities are said to be in favor of the current deal because ByteDance maintains an overwhelming majority stake. This apparently was what gave Oracle the advantage over Microsoft, which offered to buy out TikTok Global in its entirety.

The deal would see Walmart CEO Doug McMillon take a seat on the five-member board of TikTok Global, which controls the app’s activities in the U.S. and around the world, excluding China. According to Bloomberg, VC firms Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic could also build equity positions in the company as part of the deal.

In a statement from TikTok quoted by CNN, the company said:

“We will also maintain and expand TikTok Global’s headquarters in the US, while bringing 25,000 jobs across the country.”

TikTok BanTikTok Ban

TikTok To Migrate From AWS to Oracle Cloud

The deal will also see TikTok move from Amazon Web Services (AWS), its current hosting provider, to Oracle Cloud. In a statement quoted by CNN, Oracle CEO Safra Catz said:

“As a part of this agreement, TikTok will run on the Oracle Cloud and Oracle will become a minority investor in TikTok Global. Oracle will quickly deploy, rapidly scale, and operate TikTok systems in the Oracle Cloud. We are a hundred percent confident in our ability to deliver a highly secure environment to TikTok and ensure data privacy to TikTok’s American users, and users throughout the world. This greatly improved security and guaranteed privacy will enable the continued rapid growth of the TikTok user community to benefit all stakeholders.”

According to CNN sources, Oracle will get full access to TikTok’s source code and app updates in order to ensure that there are no back doors for the Chinese state to harvest data or spy on the app’s 100 million+ American users.

Source: https://beincrypto.com/tiktok-avoids-us-shutdown-as-oracle-walmart-swoop-in/

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Blockchain

Ripple price falls to $0.244, what’s next?

Ripple price follows the market trend to falling to $0.244 low. Analyst expects a drop to $0.21 mark before another rise. Mixed market sentiment and bearish market are main contributing factors. The Ripple price line fell bearish after testing the Exponential Moving Average (EMA) on the 20th of September. The price slipped below the $0.244 […]

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  • Ripple price follows the market trend to falling to $0.244 low.
  • Analyst expects a drop to $0.21 mark before another rise.
  • Mixed market sentiment and bearish market are main contributing factors.

The Ripple price line fell bearish after testing the Exponential Moving Average (EMA) on the 20th of September. The price slipped below the $0.244 mark by the evening. The market is expected to rise, and Ripple price with it.

1-Day Ripple price analysis

The price approached the day’s high of $0.254 US Dollars by noon on the 19th of September. The cryptocurrency traded at $0.24596 US Dollars on Bitstamp, at the time of writing. Whereas, the day’s low was observed at the $0.243 mark.

XRPUSD technical indicators

The Trading View analyst Ronin is of the opinion that the cryptocurrency is currently undergoing a wave trading pattern. Per the crypto analyst, the price will now fall towards the $0.21 level to complete the 5th wave of this trade.

Currently, the cryptocurrency appears to be testing the EMA marked in orange. The technical indicator may cause the cryptocurrency to be pushed back and fall towards the $0.21 support level. Per the chart above, the cryptocurrency’s trade volume has been decreased ever since the start of September.

The Relative Strength Index (RSI) stands near 45.00, which means that the technical indicator is in a neutral zone. The Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) line appears to be moving above the signal line, while the Histogram is decreasing in the positive region.

What’s next for Ripple?

The Trading View analyst Saeed believes that the XRP price will see an uptrend towards the $0.28 resistance, which will then be followed by a price fall towards the $0.21 mark.

Per the analysis, the cryptocurrency trades inside a falling wedge pattern. The XRP price fell below an ascending trend line marked in the chart above. The recent accumulation above the $0.24 level may allow the cryptocurrency to rise towards the ascending trendline. For this ascension, the XRPUSD pair will have to break above the falling wedge pattern and test the rising trend line. The analyst believes that the resistance will be strong enough to cause the cryptocurrency to fall down towards the $0.21 support level.

What to expect from the XRP price?

The Trading View analyst Vince Prince has stated that the XRPUSD trading pair is under an overall bearish bias while it trades inside of an ascending channel.

The cryptocurrency recently made its way towards the back-up-cluster near the lower ascending trendline of the trading channel. Per the analyst, the XRPUSD pair has bounced from this cluster, which means that the cryptocurrency will now make its way across the midpoint of the ascending channel and towards the upper ascending trendline. If the cryptocurrency, at any point, breaks below the ascending channel, the price will fall in the bearish zone. This is why the cluster region is important for XRP to hold.

If Ripple closed above the 400-Day EMA (green), the price will have more room to move towards the upside and test the upper trendline. However, the ascending channel may eventually result in a bear flag for Ripple, which means that the cryptocurrency is still in a bearish bias. For now, the XRPUSD pair is expected to test the higher levels if it holds the $0.248 support.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not a trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Blockchain

Litecoin price drops to $46.5, what to expect?

Litecoin price analysis unable to sustain the $48 high. Litecoin briefly sees $49 high, losing strong support for $48. Analyst believe, Litecoin price to show a reversal. The Litecoin price line observed price continuation over the $48 mark on the 19th of September. Grevling is a Trading View analyst who believes that the LTC price […]

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  • Litecoin price analysis unable to sustain the $48 high.
  • Litecoin briefly sees $49 high, losing strong support for $48.
  • Analyst believe, Litecoin price to show a reversal.

The Litecoin price line observed price continuation over the $48 mark on the 19th of September. Grevling is a Trading View analyst who believes that the LTC price will soon test the resistance level near $57.

1-Day Litecoin price analysis

Litecoin traded at $46.96 US Dollars at the time of writing on Bitstamp. The cryptocurrency observed the day’s high at $49.01 US Dollars on the 19th of September.

What’s next for Litecoin?

The Trading View analyst Grevling is of the opinion that the LTC price will break above the descending triangle pattern soon. The breakout is expected to lead the cryptocurrency towards the $57 mark.

The cryptocurrency has been trading inside the descending triangle from the 12th of September. Once the LTC price breaks above this descending triangle, it will turn bullish and rise towards the $56.90 resistance level. The crypto analyst believes that the LTCUSD trading pair will test the resistance twice before it can finally break out the third time. This trade is a long-term trade for the cryptocurrency.

A confirmation of the breakout above the $56.90 mark will allow the cryptocurrency to eventually rise towards the $84.73 level.

Will Litecoin observe a double bottom pattern?

The Trading View analyst Utku Yucel believes that the LTC price may depict a double bottom pattern soon. The analyst highlighted the cryptocurrency’s trade inside a triangle pattern on the 1-day chart for the LTCUSD trading pair.

The cryptocurrency approached this triangle pattern in March 2020, while it has been trading closer to the ascending support line (blue) until the price turned bullish in August. The cryptocurrency tested the descending resistance (red) of the triangle pattern on the 17th of August.

Currently, the price has returned to the ascending trendline. The analyst believes that this touchdown of the cryptocurrency at the lower boundary of the trading pattern may complete a double bottom pattern. The double bottom pattern is a bullish sign, and it will lead to a bullish convergence for the LTC price. The price line may bounce off the trend line after completing the double bottom pattern and move towards the descending trendline to observe a breakout.

The analyst suggested traders observe the Exponential Moving Average (EMA) in order to be aware of the cryptocurrency’s trading trend. The Relative Strength Index (RSI) lies in the neutral zone at 42.43 on the 1-day time frame. A breakout above this triangle pattern will leave the cryptocurrency in a bullish state.

What to expect from the LTC price?

The Trading View analyst Harison is of the opinion that Litecoin is currently in the accumulation zone, and that the cryptocurrency is expected to see a significant increase in its price over the long-term trade.

On the 4-hour chart, the analyst drew some nested triangle patterns. The cryptocurrency trades in a triangle pattern, which lies in a bigger ascending triangle pattern. On the 20th of September, the cryptocurrency slipped below the descending triangle. If the price moves below the important support structure between the $46 and $47 levels, then LTC may turn bearish per the chart above. The target price for this trade lies at $56.96.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not a trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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