Crypto comes with the stigmatic perception of having it been used for monetary transactions only. Whilst the average user associates it with Bitcoin, Litecoin and maybe Ethereum, the cryptocurrency ecosystem provides a structured and secure way of sharing data.
Most crypto coins come with a dedicated memo functionality, where the user can specify what the transaction is all about. It is considered a form of messaging.
The traditional, simplified messaging, is built on an even simpler process – exchanging chunks of data in a peer to peer transaction. Bitcoin, for instance, provided a messaging solution from its start. The original genesis block that was a typical for news headline within the Coinbase field was later used to store Bitcoin’s entire white paper.
For practical reasons, Bitcoin can store short messages only. Same applies for several other crypto coins, providing only a short amount of space to explain the transaction.
Interesting fact: Bitcoin users have used the blockchain to store marriage proposals, ASCII art, and racial slurs.
In terms of privacy, messaging has a bright future because of the exchange of confidential information. Example: Zcash offered time memo fields, whilst Bytecoin announced a new plan to integrate the messaging feature. The advantage: Zcash and Bytecoin’s ledgers, unlike Bitcoin, encrypt transactions, making it impossible for a third party that is not involved in the transaction itself to read the contents of the transaction.
The basics of memo.cash have been placed in the foundation of the Bitcoin Cash messaging. The larger ledger allows messages to be stored within each transaction. Memo.cash cannot censor content, unlike Facebook and Twitter, having the content stored within a permanent ledger.
Meanwhile, IOTA has developed an advanced protocol, called Masked Authenticated Messaging (MAM), offering a diversity of privacy options to choose from, and allowing developers to create complex data streams and engage with external systems and devices.
Messaging is not only considered self-expression anymore. It can have a technical purpose, and often is being handled by an automated system. Such example is the Stellar blockchain.