BitMessage is Back! Updated After Nearly Two Years!
While I had heard some rumblings and some good news over the overall development of Bitmessage a few months back (much of it having to do with it being integrated with I2P, a fine choice)…I’ll admit I was beginning to wonder if were ever going to see another update. I don’t recall exactly when in 2014 the release I have been using for a while came out (Version 0.4.4), but bottom line: It’s been a long time, baby.
And just as I was about to remove the Bitmessage option from my CONTACT US page here at zog.ninja, I go to the main Bitmessage website and find…the software has been updated!
I’m in awe. And pleased. If you don’t know about Bitmessage, in brief, it’s kinda the idea of using blockchain technology to send encrypted messages, and be a full on email alternative. At length, it’s an open-source communications protocol for keeping your messages private. Unlike PGP and similar programs that hide just the content of messages, Bitmessage also hides metadata like the sender and receiver of messages. And unlike PGP, Bitmessage doesn’t require that users manage public or private keys to use the system; Bitmessage uses strong authentication so that the sender of a message cannot be spoofed.
Bitmessage is also decentralized and “trustless”, which means that you don’t need to trust root certificate authorities or any third parties who, under legal duress from a government, might give up your data. Read the fine print on commercial encryption services like Hushmail and you’ll notice that they, like Facebook and others, protect your privacy until a legal authority asks them not to.
Developed by Jonathan Warren starting in November 2012 in response to suspicions that the U.S. government was tapping citizen emails, and again, the system is modeled on Bitcoin. While its security measures are not foolproof, they’re also not terrible, and continued development has been making it better.
But again, I thought development had stopped entirely by this point, and I was ready to give up on it. As of May 2nd, 2016, however, it’s now up to version 0.6, and while still in beta, the visual refresh of it is a welcome one (I’m not entirely clear one what other improvements have been made). Frankly, it now looks like a full on email client (but email done better, at least in transmission). When you add in longtime features like message subscription services, creating multiple addresses within the client, etc., it does start to take shape as an actual federated email replacement. And since most so-called email replacements today generally aren’t federated, I don’t really consider them to be successors to email’s throne, so Bitmessage has always had a special place in my heart because of that, and again, I’m glad it’s not dead yet.
Granted, over the years people have commented that sometimes messages don’t get received (or never sent, depending on how it happens), and while I’ve yet to experience that personally, I find it important to mention it, but also let’s keep in mind that this is still in beta. It makes sense if that fact shows from time to time.
So while this new development is exciting and welcome–and serious kudos to the developer(s)–it’s software that still has lots of features to add in (which is not an insult at all). The sending of “rich” content still needs more development, and at the very least an Android client would be great for it to be taken to the next level and allow it to be more viable as a full-on replacement for email, and perhaps messaging clients in general. But please, don’t go trusting your life on this software yet (if you should ever trust any software with your life).
Anyway, if you’ve never checked out Bitmessage before, head to the link below to get the latest version (it’s available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, and now FreeBSD as I understand…my personal favorite), or update to 0.6.0 if you’re a longtime user. This is still an incredibly exciting project. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this development and will update everyone via the Dark Android Project or through my tech podcast, Sovryn Tech.
LINK: Bitmessage version 0.6.0
And if you like, feel free to send me a Bitmessage! Here’s my address: “BM-NBMFb4W42CqTaonxApmUji1KNbkSESki“. It’s the same that it’s been for years. And if it’s here to stay, well, then I’ll gladly stay with it.