Tether and Bitfinex to launch decentralized video chat Keet

    26 Jul 2022

    Digital asset exchange Bitfinex and Tether, the project behind the troubled USDT stablecoin, have joined forces with peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol Hypercore to roll out a blockchain-powered video calling app Keet. The app, which represents a decentralized alternative to popular centralized communication apps such as WhatsApp and Zoom, is built on a fully encrypted platform for building P2P applications, Holepunch.

    The companies said Keet is based on an underlying technology known as Distributed Holepunching (DHT). This technology enables users to locate and talk to each other “using only cryptographic key pairs upon authorization.”

    Through the app, users will be able to schedule audio and video calls and use free chat and file-sharing services, the sister firms said on Monday.

    While Keet is similar to popular video-calling and messaging services such as Zoom and WhatsApp, the new app does not share data with a central server but rather allows users to establish connections only between themselves. Through this decentralized approach, Keet manages to reduce latency and improve reliability relative to traditional communication apps.

    Bitfinex and Tether are launching the web version of Keet on July 25, while the mobile app is set to launch in November this year. Keet will aim to “become the most unstoppable communication application, offering a great user experience, with maximum privacy and security,” said the CTO of Bitfinex and Tether, Paolo Ardoino.

    Tether CTO Paulo Ardoino has been appointed the Chief Strategy Officer of Keet, showcasing a dedication to the project from the most senior members of the Tether organization.

    The Holepunch platform could be seen as an attempt to create more than just Web3. The P2P platform could pave the way for a new P2P internet. Akin to the Piped Piper app of the hit TV show Silicon Valley, the Keet app is the first application to be released on the Holepunch platform.

    However, the announcement opens the door to a wealth of new Holepunch apps in the future.

    “Rather than relaying communications through a singular server, the way that most of today’s virtual communications apps do, Holepunch is an open network of computers that can be used by peers to discover each other,” CEO of Holepunch Inc Mathias Buus noted.

    Ardoino added that Bitfinex and Tether have poured roughly $10 million into the development of Holepunch and Keet, adding the sister companies are open to investing an additional $50 million to $100 million for the future P2P apps. Holepunch is also expected to add the Lightning Network and the Tether stablecoin (USDT) to its protocol in the future. Earlier this year, Tether paid over $10 billion in withdrawals amid a broader crypto market downturn.

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