Nick Chong · 2 days ago · 2 min read
China › Technology
Censorship surrounding Coronavirus outbreak in China shows the need for secure blockchain messaging apps
The news about the Coronavirus could have been broadcast much faster and the outbreak handled much more effectively if the doctors working on the cases had access to censorship-resistant messaging platforms.
Could the massive Coronavirus outbreak have been suppressed if the doctors working on it weren’t censored?
One cryptographer seems to believe so.
According to David Chaum, the founder of metadata shredding quantum-resistant blockchain platform xx network, if it wasn’t for the persistent censorship efforts from the Chinese government, the Coronavirus outbreak could have been handled much better.
The death of Dr. Le Wenliang, one of the seven doctors whose attempts to warn against the spread of the virus in its early days were suppressed by the authorities, has sparked a nation-wide conversation about the effects of censorship in China.
In a rare show of resistance and solidarity, people across China took to Weibo to speak about the injustice against Dr. Wenliang, creating a movement around the hashtag #IwantFreedomofSpeech. However, local reports have shown that the hashtag and the posts containing it have been removed within hours.
By silencing the doctors who were warning about the early cases of Coronavirus, the Chinese authorities effectively created a monster of a virus that thrived thanks to the lack of information about it. All of this, Chaum believes, could have been avoided with blockchain.
Solving censorship, one blockchain message at a time
Chaum told CryptoSlate that he believes blockchain can help overcome many societal barriers set up by governments, the most important one being censorship, as it’s immutability and security makes it a perfect tool for protecting people’s privacy.
xx messenger, the blockchain-based messaging app Chaum’s US team Elixxir is developing, could become a tool that enables that, he explained. The censorship-resistant blockchain app has been many years in the making but is set to see the light of day very soon. Currently, it is available for testing by downloading the xx messenger app.
“We’ve worked hard over many years to build the infrastructure of the xx network and lay the groundwork for privacy-protecting tools like xx messenger”
What Chaum seems particularly proud of is the app’s unique architecture, which makes even its metadata hidden. David said that Elixxir, which is the c-mix platform, “shreds” metadata that is generated by users, while also providing end-to-end encryption of message content.
However, rivalry in the blockchain messaging app industry is becoming increasingly tough. With dozens of similar apps on the market, Elixxir will be up against a tough crowd. The messenger’s ability to handle cryptocurrency payments without sacrificing privacy could be what sets it apart from the competition.