On Monday, Tether along with its sister company Bitfinex and p2p infrastructure provider Hypercore announced the launch of a fully encrypted video calling app Keet, designed to replace one day its web2 centralized peers like Google Meet or Zoom. The app already launched on “alpha”, and plans to integrate Bitcoin Lightning and USDT micropayments in future versions. So far, Keet is available only on desktop, with a mobile app coming soon.
The development of Keet, long hinted by CTO Paolo Ardoino, marks Tether’s entrance into the new business sector of peer-to-peer applications. Why, all of a sudden, the biggest stablecoin issuer would be interested in the market of chat apps? As Ardoino told Decrypt, it’s all about the freedom of speech.
“You know that funny meme where people ask if you are ‘in it for the tech’ in the Bitcoin space, mocking the fact that of course everyone is in it for the money? Actually, we at Tether and Bitfinex—and this is the great alignment we have—we are actually in the blockchain space for the tech,” he said.
“One of the main concepts is that individual sovereignty cannot be reached if you only have financial freedom, but you don’t have freedom of speech,” Ardoino added.
Keet key features
The app, which is free to use, is supposed to be a more secure alternative to current centralized video call platforms, widely known for their questionable practices of harvesting users' data. Thankfully, that won’t be the case with Keet – the data shared between users isn’t forwarded to any centralized entity. This is because Keet establishes a direct connection between the users participating in the chat, leaving no possibility for a third party to snoop or leak data.
Additionally, Keet promises amazing video quality, as there’s no server to throttle users’ performance and all video calls operate over p2p connections. And the option of instant file share enables streaming 3GB video file immediately, something centralized platforms cannot boast of having. According to Ardoino, this is possible due to data chunks being fetched by peers, stored locally, and swarmed to others when needed, effectively making the app “like torrent but on steroids.”
Contrary to the web3 trend of moving everything on blockchain, Keet doesn’t leverage this technology, nor does it have a native token. Keet creators’ views on the state of web3 are close to those of Jack Dorsey, the ex-CEO of Twitter, who has been a vocal critic of the crypto industry, claiming that the space is actually controlled by big VC firms and their “limited partners,” or LPs.
To break the monopoly of VC, Dorsey announced a Bitcoin-based decentralized web5 built on self-sovereign technologies. However, Keet founders believe that their solution, Holepunch, has an advantage over web5.
Built with Holepunch
“Web5, from what we have seen so far, has a more complex and predetermined structure than Holepunch,” Ardoino and Holepunch CEO Mathias Buus told Bitcoin Magazine. “Holepunch provides a set of primitives and the scaffolding to build applications without trying to force specific patterns.”
Holepunch, a fully encrypted platform for building p2p applications, was launched with the goal to become the backbone of the “Internet of Peers.” Currently, it operates as a closed pre-release protocol, but developers hope to move to the open-source code by the end of the year.
In his interview with The Block, Ardoino revealed that the company devoted five years to the Holepunch and invested $10 million into the platform, hoping to bring additional $50 million as they build more p2p apps besides Keet.
According to Buus, Keet is just 10% of Holepunch's offerings, as the platform will soon host many "great apps without any strings attached."