Blockchain is the technology that started it all – it is what drives the millions of transactions sent through peer-to-peer cryptocurrency networks every year. And now, it’s making its way into one of the most important parts of everyday life – communication. But what makes blockchain so powerful, and what does it actually have to do with the way it talks to others?
What Makes Blockchain Powerful
Cryptocurrency networks decide on the actual state of their blockchains using consensus mechanisms, processes that verify the validity of the data stored within blocks and decide where those blocks lie with a particular blockchain. If nodes within a cryptocurrency network disagree on the actual state of the blockchain, protocols specific to each network automatically resolve the dispute and determine the correct blockchain. Because this is done automatically, it is very difficult for an attacker to conduct fraudulent transactions.
Consensus mechanisms contribute to another attractive feature of blockchains, which is their immutability. Data stored within the blockchain cannot be retroactively changed or reversed without the consent of the majority. 51% or more of all nodes in the cryptocurrency network must agree to change the state of the blockchain. As the cryptocurrency grows, it becomes harder and harder for a single entity to control 51% of the network. Because of this, large cryptocurrencies like bitcoin ensure the integrity of transactions. In turn, this enables individuals and businesses to believe that their money is safe.
How blockchain revolutionizes communication
Toklok, an emerging messaging app, is using similar technology to revolutionize online communication. TokLok uses a decentralized and encrypted peer-to-peer network to send completely secure communications directly between phones, guaranteeing truly private correspondence.
When messages are sent from one phone to another, they are first wrapped in two layers of encryption. Then, they travel across the network to their intended destination. To ensure that they cannot be intercepted, only devices equipped with the correct secret codes can decrypt and read them. The combination of encryption and secret codes makes it impossible for anyone who tries to insert himself between the sender and receiver to sniff or change the content of their messages. This enables users to trust that their conversations are unfiltered, uncensored and secure.
While there are many encrypted messaging apps available, no other app goes to such lengths to protect user data. Because TokLok sends messages directly between phones, those messages never touch any third-party data providers, bypassing cellular networks and Internet service providers entirely. This is important because messages that are on their way to their destination via third-party networks are vulnerable. Without knowing what happens between the start and end points of a message, it is impossible to determine whether they are being spied on or modified.
This concern is not unfounded. The famous PRISM documents leaked in 2013 by Edward Snowden showed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had back-door access to some of the largest Internet platforms in the United States. Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Apple were all to name – either voluntarily or by force, these companies enabled the United States government to spy on anyone using their services. Between government surveillance and hackers, no data sent through a third party is secure.
Even with nothing to hide, data privacy is important. Data sent through third-party services may be stored indefinitely and used in nefarious ways. Personal data can be used to profile individuals to influence their beliefs, track their activities, impersonate them, steal their identities, and more.
Although Toklok has already evolved, maintaining the most secure messenger is no small task. Cyber security threats evolve every single day. As such, TokLok has decided to go public through an ICO, or Initial Coin Offering. TOL tokens sold will be distributed via the Ethereum blockchain, and the funds generated from these sales will be kept for continuous updates and development of new features.
The first round of TokLok’s ICO has started. In total, there will be three rounds, each round offering tokens for a higher price than the previous. Since Toklok has the competitive advantage of being the only messaging app that offers complete security, investors are jumping in from the cryptocurrency space.