inb0x: ethereum messaging

inb0x: ethereum messaging

The concept of Web3 was always focused on decentralization, with the Bitcoin white paper from 2008 considered by many to be the main reference point, if not its catalyst. Decentralized networks are not controlled by one individual or institution and they rely on many interconnected nodes and systems distributed around the globe.

Computer scientists worldwide have turned their attention to the decentralization of the internet, which introduces advantages such as near-absolute privacy and the possibility of avoiding censorship. Encrypted messaging and mail applications have evolved and are now more popular than ever.

Telegram, Signal, ProtonMail: End-To-End encryption

Encryption is a complicated concept, so we will reduce it to the bare essentials. Pieces of code called “keys” are used to blur messages. These keys are generated, shared and used in combination, but the end users always have absolute control of one of them, called the decrypted (exposed) private key.

The sender/receiver keys combined provide parameters to convert the message to gibberish. The message is then sent over the Internet. It’s possible to intercept it, but without the decrypted private keys it would be unreadable. When applied, the receiver’s private key will decipher the message instantly.

ProtonMail (2013), Telegram (2013) and Signal (2014) are among the most popular encrypted communication providers. The cryptographic code runs in the background, keys are auto-generated, and the users only see the decrypted info. Notably, Signal and ProtonMail are considered two of the safest communication channels.

inb0x: crypto-inspired messaging

Users of NFT platforms are often unreachable since the only point of reference is an Ethereum wallet address. is a recently launched web app by the developers of NFT collectible card game Parallel that allows contact with anyone using an ETH wallet or ENS.

When you want to send a message, you connect your MetaMask to the app to identify yourself. The server will then look for the recipient's ETH address or ENS domain to notify them of an incoming message. If the address appears in the inb0x servers, they will alert the recipient.

inb0x makes extensive use of MetaMask, which stores and encrypts Ethereum private keys, by generating encrypted and decrypted public and private key pairs to facilitate messaging. Each message is encrypted in-browser using a combination of keys; then it’s sent to the inb0x servers and waits for the receiver to connect. When the receiver authorizes their MetaMask, their private keys will decode the message, which will appear in the app. The inb0x database is currently hosted in Firestore. The team is planning an upgrade to decentralized storage once the Beta phase is completed. Parallel fans are already putting inb0x to good use.

Why not use the Ethereum blockchain for messaging?

There are several reasons. First, sending a message in ETH is slow and expensive. You can send an empty ETH transaction with a short message attached. However, it would cost at least $20 per message and could take a couple hours depending on how busy the network is.

There are also privacy issues. The blockchain is public and sites such as allow anyone to monitor transactions. Additionally, messages on the blockchain are impossible to delete or modify. Many privacy-focused users even want self-deleting messages, so this shortcoming would be catastrophic. 

Inb0x is still in its early days, but we anticipate that it will become quite popular. The idea of using MetaMask to encrypt frequently used keys is also interesting and will probably be implemented in other privacy-focused projects.

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