Twetch, a micropayment-based social network that runs on the Bitcoin SV blockchain, has introduced an encrypted direct-messaging function that lets users send each other money in the chat.
Released Wednesday, Twetch Chat adds a layer of privacy and security to the Twitter alternative and is in line with a trend toward more private communications that have been a focus of companies in recent years. The twist is that you need a cryptocurrency wallet to take advantage of the feature – specifically, one that connects to BSV, a splinter network from Bitcoin Cash, which itself seceded from the main Bitcoin chain.
“Unlike legacy internet services, Twetch offloads key management to the user’s account (which is a Bitcoin [SV] wallet),” said Twetch CEO Joshua Petty, whose amphibian Twitter avatar is a nod to the danker corners of the internet, in a statement. “It’s a step toward breaking up the big tech data monopoly.”
To use Twetch, you need a Moneybutton or Relayx wallet to store and send BSV. Moneybutton and Relayx both use the PayMail protocol, which creates an email-like ID like “firstname.lastname@example.org” instead of the string of numbers and characters typically associated with a wallet. When setting up a Twetch account, the service randomly generates a 12-word seed phrase associated with each unique wallet’s public key. This seed is then encrypted and stored in Twetch's database. Whenever you want to log in, you have to decrypt the seed to prove your identity and gain access.
The AES encryption standard uses the same key to encrypt and decrypt. So when you want to chat on Twetch, the chat initiator creates an AES cipher, or code, for the chat. This cipher is then used by both participants to send and read encrypted messages.
The cipher itself is encrypted by the user's seed/key and stored by Twetch in its servers so the user can decrypt it later, and only chat participants can read and send messages.
When you want to chat, you find the person you want to communicate with and agree on a room in a “house.” The person who initiates the chat creates a special “lock” and key from their and their partner’s key, so no one except them can enter the conversation.
Twetch Chat is intended to be used for business as well as social interactions. Within the chat, users can negotiate deals in private and pay each other as part of the same interaction.
According to Petty, early testers of Twetch Chat demonstrated to him that users will spend more time on the platform when using this feature.
“Messaging is a key feature for any social network,” he wrote in an email to CoinDesk. “Most of the apps people use right now are not encrypted let alone give you access to the data like we do. This is setting the standard of how all software is going to work. Sound security and sound money built in by default.”
Nothing is foolproof, however.
“Just like with your bitcoin or crypto wallet, it is possible people lose access to all their wallets/private keys,” Petty acknowledged. “However, it is possible to cross-sign with multiple wallets on Twetch.”