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Picture yourself sliding into Vitalik.eth's DMs

Web3 Product: XMTP. Category: Infra. Analogy: SMTP

gm creators!

I hope everyone had a productive week and are excited for the weekend 😎

In case you missed it, last e-mail I sent out a post about a product that's changing the game for builders in the web3 space, Launchcaster. Here's the key takeaway:

The growth of the app store didn't happen overnight. It required a tailored solution that addressed the needs of its unique user base. In a similar way, the rise of web3 developers demands a product that understands and caters to its unique culture and requirements. And that's what Launchcaster strives to provide.

You can read the full post here!

If you're new to The Bigger Picture, welcome! I use the history of tech to explain emerging web3 trends.

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Today's Takeaways💡

Today, I'm going to be diving deeper into a web3 protocol that I think is going to seriously help bring web3 to the mainstream audience: XMTP!

Picture yourself receiving a notification in your wallet if you're about to get liquidated on a position.

Or imagine DMing your future co-founder through a Zora mint you both participated in.

XMTP is an open protocol and network for web3 messaging. The mission is to give people ownership and portability over their chats through wallet based communication.

XMTP is bringing us the future of messaging interoperability & web3 communication

Sections Below:

  1. The rise of e-mail

  2. Federated Control

  3. Sliding into wallet DMs

Let's dive in 🚀

The rise of e-mail

In the 1960s, "email" was simply leaving messages for other users on the same computer. This was carried out through time-sharing systems which first started at MIT. The CTSS model was the precursor to the e-mail we know today.

Fernando Corbato

Then in 1971, Ray Tomlinson was looking to send a message to another computer on ARPANET. Just as a fun side project, he ends up sending the first e-mail with the "@" symbol. The @ was used to separate the user from the destination and is obviously still used today.

Guinness World Record

One decade later, in August 1982, John Postel submitted the first RFC (request for comment) for SMTP. This was the start of the simple mail transfer protocol.

SMTP is the protocol that is used for sending & receiving email over IP networks.

SMTP revolutionized email - messages were no longer confined to a single system. Despite being nearly 40 years old, SMTP remains a crucial part of the infrastructure powering our emails due to its robustness, scalability, & simplicity.


Federated Control

Though email is technically decentralized, it does still heavily rely on intermediary centralized servers that can be taken control of by federal governments. There are numerous points of possible censorship and blacklists.

So not truly decentralized...

Blockchain enters the chat

Al Jazeera

Though it's technically possible to integrate SMTP with blockchain networks, it would be bringing the same issues in the tweet above - reliance on centralized servers.

This goes against the core web3 value of decentralization.

XMTP Litepaper

Furthermore, the current design of e-mail architecture is most suitable for the web we use today, not web3. The platforms we're used to are not built for wallet based identities.

It's time for a new model for universal communication.

That's where XMTP comes in.

Sliding into wallet DMs 👀

XMTP (Extensible Message Transport Protocol) is an open protocol, network, and standards for secure, private web3 messaging.

Key features:

  • Identity auth w/ wallets

  • E2E encryption (user owns convos)

  • Interoperability with apps in XMTP ecosystem.

XMTP was co-founded by Shane Mac & Matt Galligan last summer.

The core question they started off with was why "you can't leave a message for wallet addresses?" They started by building the web3 version of "you've got mail" (AOL).

And in just 1 year, the product has taken off.

XMTP first blog post

The need for wallet based messaging is perfectly highlighted in the litepaper.

Robert Leshner, co-founder of Compound Protocol, complained to Matt that despite knowing every wallet address of Compound users, there was no way to communicate with them (i.e. if someone is about to be liquidated).

But messaging users in extreme situations is just one use case. This functionality of wallet to wallet messaging is game changing for folks all across the crypto ecosystem.

Features such as:

  • Connecting NFT creators with their collectors

  • Letting people know they have unclaimed airdrops

  • Assisting with identity verification to prevent frauds

The beauty of this architecture is that it enables interoperability. For example, if you start a conversation on Lenster, you can continue it on Converse. Messaging between apps is completely secure! Think WhatsApp/Signal encryption.

In the last few months, we've seen tons of products onboard onto XMTP. Most noticeably, the Coinbase Wallet integration.

I'm excited to see how the team continues to develop XMTP. There's already a ton of momentum so if you haven't tried one of the ecosystem apps yet, go ahead and try.

Just download Converse, connect your wallet, and shoot me a gm at yashbora.eth!

XMTP Roadmap

That's all for today's post - if you enjoyed, I'd love for you to share with your friends in crypto :)

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