Bitmessage

Bitmessage 0.6

Free
Receives and sends encrypted messages to one or multiple recipients.

Bitmessage is a client application that uses the communications protocol with the same name to guarantee your messages remain private. In this respect, Bitmessage encrypts not only the contents of the messages but also their metadata, such as sender and recipient information. What is more, since it is a peer-to-peer protocol, there are no centralized servers. Even addresses are generated automatically by the client.

Of course, there have always been other methods to send messages privately, but Bitmessage has the advantage of being much easier to use. In this regard, sending a message to someone only requires entering the recipient’s Bitmessage address, just like with regular emails.

The application has a tabbed interface, which compartmentalizes its various features. The Messages tab allows managing your identities and accessing the messages received, sent and erased. The Send tab has two panes: there is the address book and another to compose your messages. Likewise, there is the Subscriptions tab, which allows managing your subscriptions and viewing the messages received from them. The other tabs allow managing blacklists as well as monitoring network status.

Receiving and composing messages is not very different from using a standard email client. For instance, the inbox shows your messages, along with other data like receiver, sender, subject and date. Moreover, you can use the column headers to sort them alphabetically or by date. Again, just like most email clients, it lets you perform such regular operations as replying, saving and deleting messages.

In a way similar to what is possible with some popular messaging apps, Bitmessage allows broadcasting a message to groups of people, who need to be subscribed to your address. Likewise, there are anonymous mailing lists, called “chans”, which allows a group of people to share the same decryption key. A chan has an address and everyone knowing the passphrase can read and post messages.

To conclude, Bitmessage takes messaging to a higher level of privacy and anonymity. Unfortunately, this protocol still has a limited userbase, so it is likely that you need to tell the intended recipients to embrace it if you want to communicate with them by this means. Finally, you should know that the tool is completely free to use.

Pedro Castro
Editor rating:

Review summary

Pros

  • Uses strong encryption algorithms
  • Decentralized
  • Allows multiple identities
  • Supports broadcasting messages

Cons

  • Limited userbase
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