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“In 2014, Gavin Wood introduced Ethereum as one of a suite of tools that can be built, the other … being Whisper (decentralized messaging)... The former was heavily emphasized, but with the turn toward financialization around 2017 the latter [was] unfortunately given much less love and attention. That said, Whisper continues to exist as Waku, and is being actively used by projects like the decentralized messenger Status,” Vitalik Buterin says in the blog post.
Waku is a family of decentralized messaging protocols designed to become the communication standard for Web3. It facilitates secure and encrypted machine-to-machine, human-to-human, and human-to-machine communications without intermediaries. Waku is the communication layer of the Logos technology stack, alongside Codex for decentralized storage and Nomos, a privacy-focused, modular blockchain.
Waku: Securing Civil Liberties
A few tech giants largely own and control the entire internet. They dictate what type of information we see, how we interact with it, and whom we exchange data with. They also enjoy privileged access to the metadata internet users produce daily. With outsized control of communication channels and possession of users' data, these companies can implement mass surveillance that commercial and political institutions can leverage.
The early Ethereum community shared such concerns when they set out to rebuild the world's internet architecture. In Gavin Wood And Buterin’s original Web3 vision, Ethereum was designed to handle computation, Swarm would serve as a storage facility, and Whisper would enable communication. The Whisper protocol, however, was inherently unable to scale to support large numbers of users. This posed a significant problem to the Ethereum and privacy-conscious Web3 community. In 2018, the research and development group Vac began to work on an alternative solution, resulting in the development of Waku.
Released in 2020, Waku offers a suite of protocols that enable censor-resistant data exchange over an open-source, decentralized network. Several leading privacy-focused protocols, including Status, the Graph, and Railgun, already use Waku.
Key Attributes of Waku
The development team created Waku as an open-source protocol to function as the communication layer of Web3. It comprises the following components:
Roadmap to Support Millions of Users
In December 2023, the open-source Waku Network MVP was announced as ready to be trialled with real users in web3 apps. The MVP is estimated to support up to eighty thousand users and provides first-of-its-kind denial-of-service (DoS) protections through message rate-limiting that does not compromise privacy or censorship resistance. Individuals can join a group on-chain and prove their membership in each message in a zero-knowledge way. Such innovations prepare the network to be scaled to millions of users.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.