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Breaking from Silos: The Rise of Portable Messaging in Web3

The inception of Web3 messaging marks a significant milestone in the evolution of digital communication, and it is the dawn of a new era.

For years, we've enjoyed the convenience of portable email. Thanks to the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol standard (SMTP), we can access our messages from any email client, anywhere in the world, because mail servers and message transfer services send and receive those messages in a standard way. This allows us to read emails on a phone, continue on a desktop or tablet, or sign in from anywhere with our credentials. This sounds boring because we have become used to it and take it for granted.

Let’s explore how this translates into the burgeoning world of Web3, where interactions take place between blockchain accounts and not email addresses. 

Enter XMTP (Extensible Message Transport Protocol), a new messaging protocol designed specifically for Web3 applications, wallets, or anyone requiring streamlined communications between blockchain accounts. 

As Web3 gains traction, blockchain clients—often mobile wallets or apps—are increasingly adding messaging features similar to what we see today in popular platforms like WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, or Messenger. This has fostered a new wave of applications seamlessly combining wallet and messaging functionality, such as Converse or Family. Existing wallets like Coinbase’s have also jumped on the bandwagon by integrating messaging into their products.

The real game-changer with XMTP lies in its ability to facilitate the flow of messages across different Web3 platforms. Imagine you are a user on the Coinbase wallet interacting with its messaging feature, and you are also on Converse, a more focused messaging app. XMTP is that magic sauce behind the scenes, enabling seamless, real-time message synchronicity between those two apps. That sounds boring again, because you might think, Why not?

Not so fast, because this is not possible today in the current realm of messaging apps that dominate the market. You can’t send a message to a contact from WhatsApp and then reply to it from Signal or ping a friend on Messenger, and then continue the conversation on Telegram. Our friends don't always use the same messaging platforms as we do, so we end up following them wherever they are. In the Web3 world, XMTP lets users choose whatever messaging platform they prefer without compromising on the seamless aspect of communication.

Unlike their SMTP-based email client counterparts, the new Web3 XMTP-based messaging clients are lightweight, and some cater to specific use cases or application segments. As users, we will likely end up using a variety of Web3 clients or applications, depending on the situation. For those supporting XMTP, their users won’t have to worry about losing the aggregated synchronicity they were used to in regular email. This approach aligns perfectly with Web3's core principle of composability, which is another fancy word for interoperability and compatibility across platforms.

This is only one chapter in the story of Web3 messaging. We can expect that increased XMTP adoption will give birth to powerful new capabilities and functionalities, beyond what today's messaging platforms offer us. Currently, XMTP boasts almost 2 million reachable identities across a variety of client apps, which isn’t a big number when compared to the 3 billion+ global users on messaging platforms. But in the realm of Web3, that is a very respectable size to grow from.

One artifact of this evolution is the exploding popularity of Frames, a Warpcast innovation that is bringing onchain applications into social media and is poised to usher in a new level of “interactivity inside messaging” not seen before. Frames readily integrates with Web3 messaging platforms because XMTP supports it. Frames is taking user interactions to a new level, paving the way toward unforeseen possibilities.

But we are still at Ground Zero. The inception of Web3 messaging marks a significant milestone in the evolution of digital communication, and it is the dawn of a new era. This era is going to be characterized by enhanced interoperability, user autonomy, and innovation in interaction modalities, signifying a shift in how we initiate and participate in digital communications. 

So buckle up and welcome to Web3 messaging. The current Web messaging is going to look so stale and old school very soon. Get ready to witness a revolution in communication that prioritizes user choice and independence from big Web2 brands, and fosters an interconnected and seamless Web3 user experience that is destined to rival its Web2 counterpart.

Ending footnote: XMTP is as secure as what we are currently used to. XMTP uses Messaging Layer Security (MLS), another new standard for end-to-end encryption (E2EE), allowing for secure messaging between different platforms. Google recently announced their MLS support. 

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