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Telegram plans multi-billion dollar ICO for chat cryptocurrency (techcrunch.com)
263 points by zillionize 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 141 comments





What's the value of the in-app currency being a cryptocurrency (putting aside hype/pr), vs calling it a virtual currency, a Mysql database with a API on top?

Dropping to a technical level, if the miners are all run by Telegram, then I think it's just a pointless overhead over Mysql. On the other hand, if anybody can run miners, I don't comprehend what value that adds, what it means.


It makes it possible for the asset to be traded on third-party markets without the knowledge, consent, or control of the organization that issued the tokens.

It also helps you trust that movement of the asset will not be hindered by the issuer's inability to keep servers running in the face of potential DDoS attacks.


That's a good point. It assumes they don't control the miners, and don't demand "registration" to participate, which would void anonymity. It still sounds like they could use an existing coin though, no?

Sure, but then they wouldn't get a few billion dollars of free money.

I'm not sure what you mean by "control the miners" — they're building this on OmiseGo, which isn't mineable.

All of the substantial ICOs require some level of KYC/AML registration for direct public sales and pre-sales. Tokens later become available to everyone else through independent exchanges, which happens quickly these days.


Where did you see that they are building on OmiseGo?


It will be an eth token like OMG until they launch their 'main chain and 2^92 sidechains' LOL! good luck with that

I see this same thing happening at some corporations now trying to create blockchain as a service. If one corporation, or just a few, are the only ones participating in the chain then why not just use traditional DBs?..

Because blockchain is cool. The other arguments, however true, are not relevant for 90% I've seen it be proposed for. It's mostly about buzzword bingo in large organizations, where people want to be 'the one who proposed [insert bleeding edge technology here]'.

The main reason is because you can't edit a blockchain.

With a database there's always ways around editing the data if you own the entire system.

With a blockchain it's not possible to edit the data without replacing the entire chain.


If a database snapshot and a checksum are published out to a CDN on a regular interval, you can certainly run UPDATE on a row and publish a new snapshot, but those tracking the integrity of the data will detect the change.

If you are in control of write access to the blockchain, you can roll back to whatever block suits you better, and just fork it. Others might protest, but those fools have no write access, so they're stuck with your fork for the time being.

Blockchain is just a protocol for consensus-based DB replication, you don't somehow magically end up with a superior DB because of that.


You could still use merkle trees it similar technology in your own database and publish checkpoint hashes of the DB every so often

Then it seems like the data being hashed would be serializations of databases rather than sets of transactions. I.e. you would be publishing snapshots of the world rather than agreed-upon changes starting from a pre-agreed on state.

I’ve been curious about this. I’ve thought about it (inspired by event sourcing), but am not familiar with the Blockchain enough to know if it’s feasible from the trust/security side.

At some point you will just be implementing your own half-assed blockchain because you "don't need a blockchain". Why?

Because git is easy and proven and a blockchain is complicated.

They could just publish a git repository. It'd be the same: it's not possible to edit the data without replacing the entire chain [of commits].

It's primarily because large corporations within an industry don't trust each other (and IMO, shouldn't.) This is especially so when the corporations cross national boundaries.

That's quite a blanket statement. There's a bunch of cases where companies trust each other enough to share the data for the benefit of the industry - credit reports being one example. Other industries have bad customer lists, etc.

So let's say you do set up a meeting with Experian, TransUnion and EquiFax and now need to prepare a slide deck to convince them to migrate their existing tech (let's say a master MySQL with a bunch of slaves, shared write access for trusted entities) to blockchain.

What's your selling point? Lower costs when deployed at the datacenter? Decreased hardware costs? Greatly increased TPS? Faster lookups? Easier to build applications on top compared to the existing stack?


IMHO that's not how a disruption on that level would ever play out. If a future blockchain replace those companies/services, it will be (again, IMO) because a team decided to create a blockchain who would provide those services, and instead of trying to please the incumbents, it would be the lower tier providers who would see value on it (users, faster time to market, etc), and little by little it would compound into market disruption, to a point where those 3 incumbents would either join the train or launch a new stack. It's a scenario akin to streaming: it is a model so disruptive from what was standard, that every first mover got in trouble with hostile incumbents (Pandora comes to mind). It takes an Apple-sized company to launch an iTunes with blessings and partnerships of that level. Look how long it is taking Ripple (XRP) to effectively launch in a similar space.

I disagree on the Pandora analogy and hostile incumbents.

In corporate IT the mighty dollar rules the day. MySQL and Postgres had hostile incumbents, Linux and open source in general had hostile incumbents, commodity hardware for the data center had hostile incumbents, AWS (or Google Cloud) had hostile incumbents, Splunk, Cloudera, SalesForce and any other SAAS company had plenty of hostile incumbents.

Yet end of the day they were able to show cost savings, and either sell it at the CTO/CIO level to existing companies or enable startups with much more rigid cost base, which in big companies quickly got the CIO's attention.

There's nothing particular about blockchain tech that I can see that introduces a major game changer on the cost savings front. Launch two identical startups today, one on top of blockchain, another on top of MySQL. Will the first one have lower operating costs 1, 5, 10, 20 years down the road?


I believe it's partly evidence-based stock ramping [1].

[1] Not sure that's the appropriate term.


>What's the value of the in-app currency being a cryptocurrency

In a word -- decentralization -- is the key difference between a virtual currency described by some SQL tables and an API and one described by a blockchain.

A gov if it wants can take down a server if it is physically hosted in that country. A blockchain unless you've gargantuan CPU power is nigh on impossible to take down.


It's not decentralized if one organization owns 52% of it.

Not necessarily. This is actually orthogonal to decentralization question. Very much depends on their proof of stake implementation.

> Very much depends on their proof of stake implementation

Exactly, if someone with >50% power can essentially double spend it makes the currency as a whole almost worthless. As a result it's very much in the creator's interest to either not have >50% or to come up with a distributed consensus algorithm where a majority party can't double spend (very hard).


I agree. It's more like they're retaining control of the money supply like a central bank does. It give you the power to indirectly influence the price / exchange rate of the currency, but you're not involved with every transaction.

Except that you are with Proof of Stake.

>In a word -- decentralization...

That is the difference, but what is the value in that? You're making things much more complicated and for what - especially for an in-app currency.


Redundancy -- you don't need to keep backups of a blockchain but you do if everything is centralized in a single place.

It depends on the value of the backups I guess and the total cost involved. If you're looking at store of value there needs to be backups of backups. I see room for both depending on the needs of the business. It's just a trade off -- the blockchain is inherently more stable and secure than a server for certain purposes and server is far faster and cheaper depending on how you use it.


They can't make a cool 500 million from adding a row in their Users table for currency.

I don't know if you've heard of the d2jsp forum. But the site's owner (he's essentially a 1-man operation) made a probably $10M+ by doing just that. Not sure whether this is possible (or optimal in terms of growth rate) at Telegram's scale.

Hah, d2jsp... Haven't heard that name in a long long time.

Because if Telegram ever goes under as a company, your "virtual currency" doesn't disappear overnight.

Yes, but if the Telegram app/platform was the only place I could conduct commerce using their money, I'm still screwed, unless a "secondary" marketplace emerges where you can use it. In which case, why not use Bitcoin or Eth to begin with? (Genuine question.)

>In which case, why not use Bitcoin

Is there anyone using bitcoin for transactions anymore? Fees are absurdly prohibitive.


Crypto markets use it a lot.

Just like if the US Government ceases to exist we'll still have all these dollar bills.

Or if the world stopped to exist we also wouldn't need any currency. You know where I'm going. The default risk of Telegram cannot even be compared to that of the US.

I honestly don't know where you're going with that argument.

My point was that if the central bank behind a currency goes away so does all of its utility, even if the currency is still physically or digitally there.

No one said anything about default. You can't default on a currency that isn't backed by anything.


> My point was that if the central bank behind a currency goes away so does all of its utility, even if the currency is still physically or digitally there.

That's not true. Unless the bank is critical for conducting transactions, their presence is not required for a currency they produced/backed to have value.

Value in currencies is whatever people assign to it. Utility is whether people will accept it as payment. If the US government goes tango uniform next week, and I and those around me have enough cash available (let's also assume the banks and CC companies we rely on for card/digital transactions also disappear) we can use the remaining physical currency as our method of denominating our local economy, and likely would.


You can't send people dollar bills on Telegram... otherwise yes, that would be a great solution.

And then nobody ever maintains the software and it still falls apart eventually.

To add to your point, the article states that Telegram will try to retain a 52% stake in its economy to control it.

"Telegram will The white paper also makes clear that four percent of the supply of Grams (200 million Grams) will be reserved for Telegram’s development team with a four-year vesting period. Telegram also plans to retain “at least 52 percent” of the entire supply of the Grams cryptocurrency to protect it from speculative trading and maintain flexibility. The remaining 44 percent will be sold in both the public and private sale.

The currency will be listed on external exchanges and used inside the Telegram app."


This is really the deal breaker. If they had a fair distribution function then I'd be ok adopting it. This is really one of the virtues of Bitcoin. Everybody had their chance - even after significant media attention - to help participate and bring about the change.

You answered your own question. It's a borderline scam to make money. Otherwise, they would just use an existing coin (e.g. Bitcoin).

no one would be able to write a smart contract on top of your cryptocurrency if it is not on the same blockchain or follow certain standards cryptocurrency exchanges expect to have in a tradable digital asset.

For example in Solidity a language that targets the Ethereum Virtual Machine. You can have constructor parameters in your contracts like addressOfTokenUsedAsReward, then you provide the smart contract address ex "0x12dgsdg..." of the token you built. These contracts unlike your mysql database are immutable and the code can't be changed, even if there is a vulnerability in it.


Just like Filecoin and Ethereum this is a possibility to use cryptocurrencies for something smart and distributed instead of just as a settlement layer between banks.

If mining is somehow built on shuffling messages around this might be the good parts about old Skype (close to decentralized) without the problems (steals your bandwidth without asking).

That said: as with anything cryptocurrency-related I'm hugely sceptical.


Durov is basically a huckster who jumps on trends.

It's a cash grab, just like 99% of the rest of the ICOs out there. They know there are lots of poorly informed, greedy greater fools trampling each other to give their money away right now, and plan to take full advantage of it.

You can wonder if that is good or bad. Well it is kind of bad but it is happening anyway and at least these guys won't just disappear with the pot overnight. I put some smallish amounts (like $100 per ICO) and in bunch of ICOs to see what would happen in the summer. At first all the negative stuff here on HN did seem to happen, now, more than half a year later, with some buy/sell actions at the right times, this only ICO portfolio is all black with a profit of over 30k. I took 50% to fiat and left the rest. The negativity is interesting on here: there are enough like me who know it's a gamble, who put experiments out with money they can miss if it is gone and who continue playing with profits only. Ofcourse we win only because your 'fools' lose, but we are on HN, you would think the people here would be in the former category. For now it is simply free money and where I live, legal and very low taxed. Besides some bad ICOs, which you can very easily recognize by the way, there are actual strong believers who fight for their company and reap the benefits. It is a bubble but not all is a fraud and ponzi in the blockchain space. Many are seeing it as a good way to run a real startup with real plans and products.

Telegram is hugely popular in the cryptocurrency community to the point that multiple traders I know monitor Telegram community engagement as a primary indicator to bet on small cap coins.

Telegram founder is also big into cryptocurrency and owns a bunch of bitcoin [1]. I think after kik [2] and Status [3] this was inevitable.

[1]: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-12/cryptic-r...

[2]: http://www.kinecosystem.org/

[3]: https://status.im/


I don't understand: Wouldn't Apple just remove their app from the app once they touch payments? Someone will be bitten by compliance, and if Telegram is able to circumvent that then the bucket stops with Apple.

This is what has stopped me from doing payment in my apps until now - you never know when some apple or google employee decides to smash you in the face with the ban hammer.


I suspect that once you get big enough, Apple is reluctant to touch you. Remember, Uber broken Apple's app rules, and were not banned, merely threatened[1]. If Apple removes the app, then who will people blame? The app or Apple? I suspect Telegram might be betting on that.

[1] https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/04/24/ubers-ka...


Telegram still concedes to Apple.

You cant join Telegram chats marked as NSFW on iOS devices.


That's especially bonkers - you can't use it for private NSFW chat?

Probably this restriction is related to the “4+” age rating.

You can. He meant groups or channels whose raison d'être is the spread of pornography.

You can (for now?) do that with the official Telegram X app though (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/telegram-x/id898228810?mt=8)

Yet you can with discord on iOS.

It is also opening them to regulation from a lot more than Apple. It is hard enough for a large tech company to deal with conflicting demands of various governments over privacy & censorship. Create a currency and now you can add financial demands as well.

Why are they doing this? Because companies are raising vastly more money and at a faster speed than going the traditional VC or even IPO route right now. The strategy: Make up any reason and do it.

I think the decentralized, semi-anonymous, open source development route can benefit from this approach better in the long term than a centralized for profit company can.

Games may also end up being some of the biggest success stories. When you can actually prove that something is rare, and even potentially decentralize the gameplay, it presents interesting options for anti-cheating and proof of value. What is dumber: crypto kitties or con artists making hundreds of millions of dollars off sloppy copy and pasted documents?


I don't really understand the Apple policy on payments.

How come, for example, they don't demand their cut from Monzo person to person transfers?


Isn’t Apple only seeking a cut of sales of digital goods? You can sell physical merchandise like a real book, but you can’t sell an ebook without cutting them in.

I thought surely you can buy ebooks on the Kindle app for iOS. But a quick search and you are right - nope, you cannot buy books on the Kindle app for iOS. The option just isn't there.

And you can't even present a link to purchase digital goods through a browser... You can open Mobile Safari and search Amazon for a Kindle book, but you can't use an Amazon app of any sort to do part of it.

Weird, considering the fact that the Bandcamp app lets you buy music digitally via PayPal. Am I missing some important difference between the two?

I just downloaded Bandcamp for iOS and under Digital Album I see "Not available for purchase on this device" along with links to purchase the physical vinyl or CD.

Hm, you’re right. I didn’t notice it but the album I tried it was “digital download + limited edition print”... mea culpa.

They must be paying Apple their percentage of the proceeds, unless they have an exception.

I'm not sure. I've found this in the App Store Review Guidelines:

>3.1.5 (a) Physical Goods and Services Outside of the App: If your app enables people to purchase goods or services that will be consumed outside of the app, you must use purchase methods other than in-app purchase to collect those payments, such as Apple Pay or traditional credit card entry.

But if this applies to Bandcamp, then it would equally apply to Amazon... So I don't know.


That part really blew my mind. I spent a good 20min trying to find out how to buy audiobooks on audible

That’s clearly different. Same question could be asked for any banking app.

Facebook Messenger supported peer-to-peer debit-card-backed payments for quite a bit now https://www.facebook.com/help/messenger-app/750020781733477/...

I am a happy user of Telegram but I don't think re-inventing ethereum with a small team of developers is a great idea. But then again, using existing tech gives you fewer opportunities for cash grabs...

Me too. Telegram is my main and preferred messaging service. I am worried this is going to ruin the service by changing focus. I guess there's still Wire.

Strange decision indeed, they could use one of the existing technologies like Ripple or Stellar.

We are talking about people who rolled their own crypto and their own binary protocol for messenger app in 201*, after all.

So far they've even got away with it.

I don't pretend it is secure and listening to HN I've been halfway expecting a huge flaw to show up but so far, -nothing.


I might be wrong, but no one other than banks (if that) can use ripple.

I'm not clear on stellar.


nah, anyone can buy Ripple and have a Ripple wallet. Only thing you can't do is mine Ripple.

AFAIK Ripple is pre-mined ("minted") and the creator(s) controls >50% of it.

The problem is that Ripple is bought via Bitcoin.

Tinfoil in me says that bank created Ripple just to get easy Bitcoin.


Integrating cryptocurrency within an easy to use chat environment has added value. Gitlab and Github have chatops, irc had chatops for ages, there were bots for twitter... chatops for payment solutions/providers/oracles is just automation. 'Ok Google, please pay HN 1 Gbyte for the inspiration.'

See for a good example how Byteball is doing this in their Android client, encrypted chat inside their wallet, chat with bots and oracles and chat with other people to send 'MBytes' to their wallet or using e-mail with a 'claim' link. I paid my lunch that way to colleagues (who are now stuck with MBytes to play with).

To get around the Apple walled garden you could even make gateway GBYTE/NEO/XBT bots for Discord, Matrix/Riot or IRC.

https://medium.com/byteball/sending-cryptocurrency-to-email-...


I fail to see why this is valuable in any way. Why would this raise even a million, let alone half a billion?

Blockchain, VR, Bitcoin, AI are the buzzwords that bring you $$$. Businesses will throw money at you just for using AI/ML, blockchain, even if these use cases can be solved with a few if/else or fuzzy logic or distributed NoSQL database.

No kidding, this also works in large organizations when teams/departments want to increase their budget. Create a project using some buzzword tech, or say you will integrate it in an existing project, and the people with their fingers on the money trigger are much easier to convince. Even if it makes no sense or adds no real value, it can gain you significant budget room to make other changes you want or need to do, and the higher ups get to brag about how they are implementing blockchains everywhere..

Because people are crazy about icos right now. Just in the last week, Crypterium has raised $45M, EOS has raised several bilions etc.

There are around 1 million people who are big into altcoins that are constantly ogling icos to get in early for the cryptocurrency to go 100x or 1000x.


Telegram has added in client payments a while ago. Their app/bot platform is crazily amazing. Plus a lot of the most popular bots also send out cash to users, which right now works with a rather complicated third party Bitcoin bot, but then could be done internally.

The ability of a cryptocurrency to overcome attack is based on the amount of computational power expended on hashing.

As more and more standalone cryptocurrencies are launched, the total amount of computational power expended on each will decrease and therefore make each more vulnerable to a 51% attack.

This problem is especially pertinent to niche currencies like Telegram's which are tied to a specific company service rather than those trying to act as a general unit of storage or exchange like Bitcoin or even an industry or economy wide tool like Ripple's XRP which. The more specific a currency's use case, the less processing power that will be dedicated to processing that currency's blockchain. And the more vulnerable it will be.

This seems like a real problem for the ecosystem as a whole.


This "cryptocurrency" will probably be centralized (although they claim some level of decentralization). Most of these ICOs for niche currencies are created just to try to take money from the current market frenzy, and most of them don't need decentralization at all, they just want to say that their company is investing in "blockchain technology" to get a piece of the cake.

Computational power is not a constant.

That only holds true for PoW systems

How is PoS safe from this?

With PoW, assuming you can use the same hardware to mine different coins, then you just point your BTC mining rig onto MinorCoin, you get 51% of the hashing power and then you can double spend and let's say crash the value of the coin.

Once that is done, you can move your mining rigs onto the next MinorCoin, or you can put them back to mining BTC without you having lost any value except for the opportunity cost when you weren't mining BTC.

With PoS, you need to buy up 51% of the coins in order to make the attack. As you buy more and more coins, the price will rise, so you will spend more money than you expect to get to 51%. Then, once you're there, you do some double spend attacks and destroy the value of the network. Now, all that money you pumped into it is gone. That is the key difference between PoS and PoW in this scenario.


BTC PoW hashing power is supplied by ASICs so it's impossible for BTC miners to do anything with their hardware other than mine BTC/BCash.

PoS mining is just rewarding the rich simply for being rich. What could be wrong with that?


BTC ASICs could be re-purposed for any coin that uses the same hashing algorithm of BTC.

PoS doesn't reward the rich for being rich any more than a savings account rewards the rich for being rich by letting them make more money off of a given interest rate.


The algorithm BTC uses has been depreciated in favor of ASIC resistant mining protocols which prevent what we see with Bitmain and allow normal users to access mining rewards.

BTC ASICs are a case of failure to prevent centralization. Nearly every successor to Bitcoin has developed ASIC resistant algorithms to allow normal users to contribute to securing the network activity and be rewarded with newly minted supply for doing so.

Block rewards are nothing like savings interest because it works like an all or nothing lottery.

If the developer or an exchange controls 40% or even 10% of the supply, they have a significantly higher likelihood of taking newly minted coins which compounds further increases to their probability of increasing their control of the supply. All the while those who have less of the supply or are too poor to qualify for staking will not be exponentially increasing their wealth.


With PoW, you'd need to pay for enough hardware and electricity to rival half of the hash rate of the entire network. With PoS, you'd need to pay enough to own half of the coins. Both are prohibitively expensive. PoS also discourages you from such an attack as you'd be destroying the value of the coins you own.

What if everybody starts making their coins, Amazon, Facebook, Chinese companies, etc. Suddenly it sounds like I'll end up paying tx fees to convert coins. Doesn't sound very good... And what currency should I get my salary in?

This is one quite likely outcome for our future. There is never a clean solution and everyone wants 'power'. I just dread what will happen when some crypto-rich colonialist leaves the planet to create 'Slave World'. Sigh... humans.

>And what currency should I get my salary in?

The same currency that you must use to keep away the taxman, and that can always be used to settle debts.


Kik has their own crypto called Kin

A lot lot lot of crypto projects use Telegram for their official chat lines.


What is preventing every app/service to launch their own crypto currency? It looks like in these times it is in their own interest to launch their own crypto currency than adopting an existing one as they stand to make billions. In that scenario do we say bitcoin and their ilk is failing or succeeding?

This is what I'm afraid of. Just as nearly every mobile game has switched to in-game currencies, other apps will develop their own (crypto)currencies. The benefits to the app owners are numerous, and users always get screwed.

1. The app owners control the denominations in which the currency can be purchased, and they can structure prices to maximize the average user's unused balance.

2. Once the proprietary currency has been purchased, transactions using that currency need not go through the confirmation dialogs required for cash purchases. That removes a chance for users to reconsider and back out.

3. Because of (2), apps can inject dialogs with 'offers' to buy things at points in the workflow where the user expects some other dialog. Users who aren't paying close attention will end up wasting their currency on accidental purchases.

4. The only "real money" transaction is the purchase of the currency, so any protections that consumers might have had with cash purchases in their jurisdiction may not apply when the proprietary currency is used.

5. On top of the usual bank/credit/debit fees, you can expect app currencies with a cash out capability to include additional fees from the app developer.


But why a cryptocurrency? In app/game virtual currencies(preceded by gift cards) have existed for a long time, and are better than cryptocurrencies at all of the above things.

To tap into the craze, I guess? I honestly have no idea. I never in a million years would have thought Bitcoin would actually breach $10,000, so I'm the last person to ask about cryptocurrencies.

> What is preventing every app/service to launch their own crypto currency?

Yeah, they will. Cryptocurrency in 2018 is the machine learning of 2017.

Startups will get asked "what is your blockchain strategy" instead of "what is your machine learning strategy".


My strategy is making money

Nothing is preventing them. So expect everyone to do it.

> Nothing is preventing them.

Fear of the SEC is likely preventing plenty of them.


And that is the problem with cryptocurrencies, everyone and anyone can produce on.

Is this solving a real problem? Video game consoles have had online stores with their own virtual currency for a long time now. Why not just go that route? Other than marketing reasons, why bother with a full on cryptocurrency for Telegram? Are the benefits worth the environmental costs of mining (assuming a similar to Bitcoin technology)?

I heard of an interesting conspiracy theory that Telegram & Mr. Durov are the grandiose project of the Russian secret service. Mr. Durov's company VKontakte that is the clone of Facebook in Russia is now fully controlled by structures affiliated to Kremlin after Mr. Durov was allowed to sell the company and leave Russia. The theory says that he was allowed to do so in exchange of building fully controlled global IM which is secure on paper but transparent to certain observers. BS? Probably! But if telegram is successful in creating global in-app purchase system that is centralized(the article mentions that) and controlled by Kremlin, that would be an awesome undercover operation, the one of a bigger caliber than Trump's election.

Well if you think about it it's actually quite genius ...

How do you subvert an increasingly connected population where information travels and spreads like wildfire that can force you out of power?

You bring those people on a platform where they are told they are safe because of technical jargon here.

It's in their best interest to not reveal these relationships or make it obvious that the people on such platform are being monitored. Nor are they trying to catch people who are smart enough to not use the platform. ex. "terrorists"

What's important is that they've essentially captured a large bracket of the population using such privacy tools thinking they are free from surveillance when in fact it's the complete opposite. Now you have full ability to disrupt and destroy any type of anti-government organization.


This can be true, since KGB has a track record of creating underground organizations to be able to lead and control anti-soviet movements. For example, in 1921 they created "Monarchical Organization of Russia" to gather all anti-soviet agents around it and hence were able to control all European communist opposition at that time.

This is described in a book "KGB: The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev" by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oleg_Gordievsky, a former KGB officer.


Its founder:

> Messaging apps shouldn't make money

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/messaging-apps

An interview which of course does not bind him nor the company to that philosophy, but it is slightly encouraging.


"Instant Hypercube Routing"

This all sounds a bit .. timecube?


I enjoyed learning about Hypercube routing in my parallel processing class. A hypercube is just a 2^n cube. A square = 2^2, a cube 2^3, a 4 dimensional hybercube = 2^4, etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypercube_internetwork_topolog...


This is a disaster, as it will likely succeed and in doing so make the entire world less secure.

Telegram is not a secure messaging platform, despite marketing themselves as such.

Signal has built a simple, seamless, and beautiful messaging platform whose security is based on solid cryptography, not marketing, bug contests, or chasing the latest tech fad.


> Signal has built a simple, seamless, and beautiful messaging platform whose security is based on solid cryptography, not marketing, bug contests, or chasing the latest tech fad.

I love Signal, but it really could use non-phone-number identifiers (this could be easily implemented e.g. with tel: & mailto: URLs) and federation.

One place where Signal falls down is visible with the recent Haven app[0], which uses the Signal network to send messages. This is wonderful, but unfortunately it requires a second phone number to register the Haven device.

[0] https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.havenapp.m...


Matrix/Riot.im seems to meet your requirements. Best(open source) messaging protocol I've found so far.

https://matrix.org/


> Telegram is not a secure messaging platform, despite marketing themselves as such.

Supporting sources?


Basically, the problem is that they invented a lot of their own crypto from scratch. When asked about this, they said "it's fine, we're smart" and then claimed to prove their security with a red herring contest.

Here are some publications about security problems with the platform:

- A class project at MIT found several problems (May 2017) [0]

- They were featured on Crypto Fails (Dec 2013) [1]

- Jakob Jakobsen @ Aarhus University published a vulnerability discovery (May 2015) [2] and then did his Masters thesis on additional problems (Sep 2015) [3]

-Tomas Susanka @ Czech Technical University in Prague published additional vulnerabilities (2016) [4]

Plenty more out there.

[0] https://courses.csail.mit.edu/6.857/2017/project/19.pdf

[1] http://www.cryptofails.com/post/70546720222/telegrams-crypta...

[2] https://eprint.iacr.org/2015/1177.pdf

[3] http://cs.au.dk/~jakjak/master-thesis.pdf

[4] https://www.susanka.eu/files/telegram-article.pdf


There's this, by a respected cryptographer who, however, also is the author of Signal: https://moxie.org/blog/telegram-crypto-challenge/

Any less biased source?

Moxie might have his own horse in the race, but his analysis of cryptosystems should not be questioned. His philosophy is around humans being able to access strong encryption. I believe he ultimately doesn't care what you use, as long as your communications are secure.

And to illustrate that, he worked with Facebook to add Signal's encryption to WhatsApp (and Google to Allo).

I haven't used Telegram in a while (so maybe things have changed since then), but I would guess that that grandparent is talking about how they rolled their own crypto, and how secure conversations isn't the default setting

> Signal has built a simple, seamless, and beautiful messaging platform

I admire Signal for its security, and Mr. Marlinspike et al. have contributed much to the field but seamless and beautiful are not words I'd use to describe Signal.

- Their desktop "app" is but an Electron app that feels native nowhere and is built from their old Chrome plugin

- The app requires my phone to be on and connected (I am aware of why this is).

- Their iPad app is non-existent and if ever released (no indication I can find that it is even planned) it would likely have the same requirement to keep my phone on and connected.

- It doesn't appear possible to search conversations.

- If I transfer to a new device, all my messages are gone unless I restore from a backup.

To give an alternative secure messenger that has less of these problems, I've been investigating Wire. It has some of the same drawbacks vs Telegram but lacks the primary flaw of Signal's design: the dependence on my phone.

But both Wire and Signal have one problem that I can't easily work around: No one I know uses them. No one I know wants to use them, because the user experience and convenience of the less secure messengers outweigh the decreased security.


So ICO is the new Kickstarter?

I suggested about six months ago that Signal should have its own ICO/cryptocurrency. Good way to get an open source project funded. Look at Brave, IPFS, and others.

MobileCoin: A New Cryptocurrency from Moxie Marlinspike [0]

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15935583

[1] https://www.mobilecoin.com/whitepaper-en.pdf


I would be willing to contribute a lot if signal could even reach half the usability level of telegram. Signal is losing many users to telegram because of UI/UX.

Isn't that what MobileCoin is?

Does WeChat have its own cryptocurrency or do its users just transfer fiat (ie yuan) into it?

As far as I understand Wechat pay is more or less PayPal. So no crypto anything.

With their volume of transactions: no. As another comment said, they act as PayPal (same goes for Ali Express)

Already excited about the upcoming lawsuit, US government vs Telegram.

I'm all for it.

Theres plenty of good cryptocurrencies now, it doesn't seem like theirs is going to be that useful. Tons of them have thousands of people looking to spend it on too.



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