Oxen is a privacy-oriented platform based on a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) network. It has also established a secure and anonymous messaging platform session.
The company’s chief technical officer, Kee Jefferys, spoke to Cointelegraph about its platform, its technology, and the importance of privacy and data protection to the end user.
1. Hello! Tell us about Oxen and Session.
OXEN is a private, pluggable cryptocurrency. The Oxen token (OXEN) has brought many innovations to the CryptoNote (CN) space, including instant transactions and a large-scale PoS system. The real magic, however, is the service node network. It supports a whole range of decentralized data protection applications – all with incentives from OXEN.
So far is our shining star session.
Session is an encrypted messenger that takes an uncompromising stance to protect users’ privacy. No phone numbers, email addresses or other identifying information are required to register for the session. With the messenger, people can benefit from the best parts of the blockchain without having to run a node, hold a cryptocurrency, or even be familiar with blockchain. Because of this, it’s already mainstream adoption and Session currently has over 200,000 active users. The app is available free of charge for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows and Linux.
2. What’s wrong with messaging giants like Messenger and WhatsApp?
Messenger and WhatsApp are both owned by Facebook, a company known for collecting user data in order to sell it for profit to advertising companies at the expense of end-user privacy, putting very little energy into maximizing privacy and security for the company User is invested.
Here’s what we know about Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp:
- Both belong to Facebook
- They are closed source
- You have “end-to-end encryption”
- Your servers are centralized
- They do not offer any metadata protection
WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are the most popular messaging applications in the world, which technically means that encrypted messaging applications are the most popular form of communication. However, there is uncertainty about WhatsApp’s implementation of end-to-end encryption as its closed source code makes it impossible to verify the quality of its encryption.
In addition, the centralized servers used by WhatsApp provide a central source of error. Apps like Session that are built on a decentralized network can be more resistant to attacks and have less downtime.
3. How does Session plan to move forward in this competitive environment?
A main focus of Session was early on to contact journalists, activists and NGOs to test the app and give feedback.
The encrypted platform is now used by well over 200,000 people in more than 200 countries from Boston to Baghdad. Activists, journalists and human rights defenders rely on Session to communicate safely and effectively and to continue their core work. Users can chat with their friends and family without worrying about whether their conversation is safe.
4. Why is anonymity so important in messaging?
Anonymity is privacy, and according to the United Nations, privacy is a human right that everyone should be entitled to – see Article 12 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
All over the world, people are persecuted for their opinions, beliefs, and conversations. And even if it’s not your job, anyone who posts on social media these days can be a whistleblower, activist, or revolutionary. This makes many people vulnerable and makes anonymity a big issue for every single person on the Internet.
5. How many people are currently using Session?
Session has been downloaded over 500,000 times and, according to the latest estimates, currently has over 200,000 active users per month. Due to the decentralized nature of Session, we cannot see the exact number of our users. Apps like WhatsApp and Telegram have access to more precise information on user numbers and activities.
6. Which chargeable premium functions does Session plan to offer?
We firmly believe that the core functionality of the app – a private hardcore messenger – should stay free. Secure messaging is an incredibly difficult challenge, and the monetization features we’re adding should improve the app’s user experience rather than restrict it behind a paywall.
However, some of the paid features Session might offer in the future are:
- Permanent Oxen Name Service username
- Increased closed group size
- Increased file size transfers
- Group calls
- Simplified open group setup
- Registering and managing multiple accounts
- Customer stickers and emoji sets
- Manual region selection for nodes in the onion requirement path
- Verified account badges
- Encrypted account backup storage
All of Session’s decentralized core components are free of charge. Some additional functions and services that would consume OPTF resources to provide or add load to the Oxen network will be part of Session’s premium functions.
Session’s monetization strategy includes premium features that allow OXEN to be bought back from the open market and burned, which puts additional deflationary pressure on the OXEN cryptocurrency.
7. Is it possible to migrate to Session from other platforms?
Community groups from other apps can easily switch from, for example, the centralized Telegram to a decentralized session. However, there is no way to port users directly from Telegram to Session.
The platform’s open groups allow real-time group chats with an unlimited number of users, while the closed group function, where users can chat with up to 100 people, has the same metadata protection as Session’s one-on-one calls.
8. What plans does Session have for the next 12 months?
Our main goals for the next 12 months are to increase the number of users and improve the monetization model. We plan to add user-generated sticker packs, increase file size limits, remotely wipe devices, edit local messages, and more.
The biggest upgrade on the horizon is the Lokinet integration, which brings lower latency communication and better, non-Apple / Google-like push notifications, as well as onion-driven voice and video calls.
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