November 5, 2019 at 8:38 pm UTC · 3 min read
End-to-end encrypted, onion-routed, censorship-resistant, peer-to-peer chat messages have been built on top of the Lightning Network. Created by Lightning Labs engineer Joost Jager, the secure chat is currently still in the demo version but has the potential to become a service if no major changes to the Lightning protocol are made.
Secure messages over Lightning Network debut on GitHub
Governments cracking down on user privacy has become a prevailing problem in the past few years. The tightening regulatory grip over freedom of speech has forced messaging apps either to sacrifice the data of their users to continue to operate or exist in a legal grey zone.
As an answer to the lack of truly secure messaging apps on the market, a Lightning Labs engineer utilized the Lightning Network to create a message protocol. According to Joost Jager, the Lightning Network can be used as an end-to-end encrypted, onion-routed, censorship-resistant, peer-to-peer chat.
Jager said that the world was in need of a censorship-resistant chatting and instant messaging over Lightning has the potential to become a killer application.
Changes in Lightning protocol enable messages to be sent for free
In his GitHub commit, Jager explained that recent changes to the Lightning protocol have made it easier to attach arbitrary data to a payment.
The developer then created a demo that leverages this by attaching a text message and a sender signature to a transaction on the Lightning Network. The network then delivers the message as it would any other transaction, but no money is paid either by the sender or the receiver.