Oxen is a privacy-focused platform built on top of the Proof of Stake (PoS) network. It has also built a secure and anonymous messaging platform session.
The company’s chief technical officer, Kee Jefferys, spoke to Cointelegraph about its platform, technology, and how important privacy and data protection are to the end user.
1. Hello! Tell us about the bulls and the session.
OXEN is a private, installable cryptocurrency. The Oxen Token (OXEN) has brought a lot of innovation to the CryptoNote (CN) space, including instant transactions and a large-scale PoS system. However, the real magic is the service node network. It supports a full suite of decentralized privacy apps – all powered by OXEN.
So far, our shining star is Session.
Session is an encrypted messaging program that takes a relentless stance in maintaining user privacy. There is no need for phone numbers, email addresses, or any identifying information to register for the session. The messenger allows people to take advantage of the best parts of the blockchain without having to run a node, hold any cryptocurrency, or even learn what a blockchain is. Because of that, it has already been mainstreamed, and the session currently has over 200,000 active users. The app is available for free on iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux.
2. What’s wrong with messaging giants like Messenger and WhatsApp?
Both Messenger and WhatsApp are owned by Facebook, a company known for collecting user data to sell it for profit to advertising companies at the expense of end user privacy, putting very little energy into increasing privacy and security for users.
So here’s what we know about Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp:
- Both are owned by Facebook
- They are closed source
- They have “end-to-end encryption”
- Their servers are central
- It does not provide metadata protection
WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are the most popular messaging apps in the world, which technically means that encrypted messaging apps are the most popular form of communication. However, there is uncertainty about implementing end-to-end encryption for WhatsApp because the closed source code makes it impossible to check the quality of their encryption.
In addition, the central servers used by WhatsApp give them a central point of failure. Applications such as Session created on a decentralized network can be more resilient to attacks and have less downtime.
3. How does the session plan to move forward in this competitive space?
A primary focus early on in the session was to reach out to journalists, activists, and NGOs to test the application and provide feedback.
Now, the encrypted platform is used all the way from Boston to Baghdad by more than 200,000 people in more than 200 countries. Activists, journalists and human rights defenders depend on Session to be able to communicate safely and effectively and continue to carry out their pivotal work. Users can have conversations with their friends and family without worrying about whether their conversation is safe or not.
4. Why is anonymity important in messages?
Anonymity is privacy, and privacy, according to the UN, is a human right that everyone should have – 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 posting on social media these days can be a detective, an activist, or a revolutionary. This opens up a lot of people for targeting and makes anonymity a huge problem for everyone on the internet.
5. How many people are currently using the session?
The session has been downloaded more than 500,000 times and currently has over 200,000 monthly active users, according to recent estimates. Due to the decentralized nature of the session, we cannot see the exact number of users we have. Apps like WhatsApp and Telegram have access to more accurate information regarding users’ numbers and activities.
6. What premium paid features does the session plan to offer?
We firmly believe that the basic functions of the app – the hardcore private messenger – should remain free. Secure messaging is a very tough challenge to solve, and the monetization features we are adding should improve the app’s user experience and not be restricted behind a paywall.
However, some of the paid features that Session may offer in the future:
- Permanent Bull Name Service Usernames
- Increase the size of the closed group
- Increase file transfer size
- group calls
- Simplified open group setup
- Register and manage multiple accounts
- Customer stickers and emoji sets
- Manual zone selection for nodes in the onion request path
- Verified account badges
- Account backup storage encryption
All core components of a decentralized session are free. Some additional features and services that would consume OPTF resources to provide or put additional pressure on the Oxen network will be included among the Premium Course Features.
The session monetization strategy includes premium features that can be used to buy back and burn OXEN from the open market, adding additional deflationary pressure to the OXEN cryptocurrency.
7. Is it possible to migrate from other platforms to the session?
Community groups from other apps can easily switch from a centralized Telegram to a decentralized session, for example. However, there is no way to transfer users directly from Telegram to Session.
The platform’s open groups facilitate real-time group chats with an unlimited number of users, while the closed group feature where users can chat with up to 100 people with the same metadata protection as individual session conversations.
8. What are the session plans 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-created sticker packs, increase file size limits, wipe remote device, edit local messages and more.
The biggest upgrade on the horizon is Lokinet integration, which will result in reduced response time and better push notifications, unlike Apple/Google, as well as onion-guided audio and video calls.
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