A decentralized messaging app

During the later half of high school, a few friends and I were very interested in cryptocurrency. This was before the 2017-2018 boom, at a time were we mined a little bit and toyed with hardware for fun.

I even built my own makeshift mining rig, isn't that art!

Diving into the Ethereum ecosystem, I found out about Ethereum Whisper, a networking layer that allowed sending messages through the chain. Although I had no idea of blockchain worked, I loved the idea! That’s when I started writing some code to recreate it, for fun!

Actually diving in the blockchain intricacies and implications, I soon realized this it’s just not appropriate for the use-case (actually, the Ethereum people also understood that, and Whisper doesn’t exist anymore 😂).

Doing some more research, I found out about the Scuttlebut protocol, which had a similar core idea and a very interesting technology stack!

Considering this, I decided to keep some ideas from both – targeting an audience that cares about privacy and security before all else – and continued working on my app. This went on for a few months. This endeavour helped a lot with learning programming, Python and its intricacies, the libraries… but also showing profs and recruiters that I was qualified on this topic. I learned so much about cryptography, Python, how to design an app and think thoroughly of all the edge cases… I’m glad I got to work on that!

In 2020, as part of my Bachelor’s Degree, I had the opportunity to work with very different people on the app (a UI/UX designer, a marketing guy, a CS student majoring in network and cybersec, a C dev), which helped quite a lot getting the app off the ground. We advertised its use among other students, and it actually gained traction for a while, with a peak at around 50 users – a pretty good impact for such a niche app!

To this day, I continue working on it on-and-off, although there has recently been a lot of architectural changes since first release and it doesn’t work out-of-the-box. But hey, I didn’t work on this to be a competitor to Whatsapp or the likes: it was first and foremost a fun and exciting journey!

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to check it out, it’s available on GitHub!