Origin Protocol (ORIGIN) is building a platform that enables the creation of new decentralized marketplaces in the sharing economy to compete with dominant incumbents like Uber, Airbnb, and Craigslist. One of its chief objectives is distributing the value created by these marketplaces more equitably to Origin’s network’s many participants.
On August 29, the Origin team announced that the open-sourced messaging protocol is integrated into the Origin demo DApp and is now up, creating an encrypted communication channel between buyers and sellers.
Characteristics of Origin Messaging:
- Open-source — You can always verify and run Origin’s code for yourself.
- Secure — Everything is encrypted end-to-end.
- Decentralized — This messaging system is built on top of OrbitDB which is a serverless, distributed, peer-to-peer database. OrbitDB uses IPFS as its data storage and IPFS pubsub to automatically synchronize databases with peers. Unlike most messaging services, there are no centralized servers or single points of failure that can be compromised or shut down, no matter who asks.
- Free — Despite leveraging Ethereum’s infrastructure and signing capabilities, no messages are actually published to the Ethereum blockchain. This means there are no associated gas costs, and it’s completely free to send or receive a message.
- Persistent — Protocol Labs (the organization behind IPFS) is currently working on a project called Filecoin, which will allow users to pay for their data to be stored securely across the network. Until Filecoin launch, Origin and a few of its partners will “pin” the messages to ensure that there’s at least one copy available on the network.
- Fast — Messages sent via Origin Messaging show up almost immediately.
- Auditable — The signatures on every message are checked to confirm the validity of the sender. A special requirement for Origin is that, in the event of a dispute between a buyer and a seller, a third-party arbitrator must be capable of accessing the conversation history only after permission is granted by one of the participants. The arbitrator must receive cryptographic proof that they’re viewing an accurate transcript of everything that was said in order to arrive at a fair resolution. This all happens without any users disclosing their private keys.
- Ethereum-based — Origin is built on top of Ethereum, and so public addresses are essentially the primary keys for its users. It makes sense that you should be able to send a message to the holder of a specific ETH address. And your private key should be the only secret that you need to maintain.
- Easy to use — Signing a couple of special messages with your Ethereum wallet when messaging is first enabled on your account creates a new shared key that is derived from your wallet and can be safely kept in localStorage on your browser for convenience.
- Integrated with ERC-725 — Since ERC-725 standard works by attaching identity attestations to your Ethereum address, it works seamlessly with this messaging system by adding not only names and faces, but also attestations from trusted third-parties that have verified certain parts of the identity.
- Anonymous — For users who prefer not to validate an identity and connect it to their account, the Origin team offers the decision to be known by a string of unintelligible characters.
- Extensible — Origin Messaging can be used not only for sending text messages but also for sending multimedia content and even transporting machine-readable messages between DApps.
“In the coming weeks, we’ll be working to further improve the user experience, expand the available features, and refine our public API”, – writes the Origin team.