E-cash inventor David Chaum says he believes the real killer app for blockchain and cryptocurrencies will be privacy-oriented messaging systems integrated with payments. Chaum made his remarks in an interview on the Bloomberg Odd Lots podcast on May 27.
Chaum — a trailblazing American cryptographer who invented a secure, privacy-preserving digital currency back in 1982 — told Bloomberg that he believes that increased awareness around privacy and digital sovereignty in the contemporary era has paved the way for blockchain and cryptocurrencies to make a breakthrough as a mass society and consumer application. He stated that:
“In the modern world, the real killer app is clearly messaging integrated with payments with popular applications in the same namespace — like WeChat in China, and what Facebook is turning into [...] It’s WeChat with blockchain inside.”
Chaum argued that consumers are becoming increasingly conscious that end-to-end encryption on messaging platforms is insufficient to protect their digital sovereignty, and will instead embrace blockchain and other technological solutions in order to prevent third parties from accessing their metadata — i.e. routing data, which includes information about the sender, recipient and timestamp, among other things.
He argued that the next big phenomenon in crypto will therefore be a platform that optimizes metadata-protection, with support for value transfer and messaging services under one canopy:
“So it’s a payment system based on digital bearer instruments, denominated digital coins, and a solution to the ‘who’s talking to whom’ — the metadata problem — together with a way to allow dApps to run securely off-chain.”
Chaum’s forecast for promising crypto applications notably cleaves closely to the concept for his own blockchain-powered messaging and payments platform Elixxir, which moved to public alpha in its release as a testing network earlier this month.
Nonetheless, his perspective closely corresponds to wider trends indicating that major global social networks or messaging services — among them Facebook, Korea’s Kakao, Line in Japan, and Russian-developed Telegram — have all either already or are ostensibly poised to enter the crypto payments space. Due to severe domestic restrictions on crypto, China’s WeChat remains an outlier in the global landscape.
In an interview last week, Michael Novogratz, founder and CEO of cryptocurrency merchant bank Galaxy Digital, forecast that at least one of the forthcoming crypto assets created by social media giants will be a success story.
Blockchain Capital partner Spencer Bogart also voiced a similar perspective this month, highlighting the potential mass adoption that Facebook’s project in particular could bring to the global crypto space.