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Etherscan Creators Launch 'Ethereum Instant Messenger' Blockscan Chat

It's using Web3 tech, but it's not yet decentralized.

2 min read
A message for your wallet. Image: Shutterstock

Who says Ethereum is only for DeFi and ape NFTs? 

In a bid to expand the use cases for decentralized tech beyond the usual suspects, Blockscan, the team that created the Etherscan blockchain explorer, has released Blockscan Chat in beta.

According to the site's homepage, "Blockscan Chat is a messaging platform for users to simply and instantly message each other, wallet-to-wallet." To use it, you must connect to an Ethereum wallet such as MetaMask. Message recipients with an Ethereum address will get a notification via block explorer (though the message won't be public on a block explorer). 

Some people are already referring to the tool informally as "Ethereum Instant Messenger"—a kind of throwback to AOL Instant Messenger.

Why exactly would you want to leverage the Ethereum blockchain to send messages instead of your phone or any other number of available chat applications? The answer might be the ability to maintain control of one's data, use censorship-resistant platforms, or communicate without fear of surveillance.

That's not quite what's going on here, however. The service runs on Etherscan's servers and messages don't get stored on a blockchain, according to the app. In short, it doesn't have the benefits of decentralization.

The terms of service, which may sound familiar to those who have dealt with centralized messaging and media platforms, state that this could all go away: "In the event of any Force Majeure Event, breach of these Terms, or any other event that would make provision of the Services commercially unreasonable for Company, we may, at our sole discretion and without liability to you, with or without prior notice, suspend your access to all or a portion of our Services."

That said, Blockscan has a very good track record within the space of making tools that anyone can use. And excited Ethereum users are already talking about potential use cases. For instance, wallet-to-wallet messaging could undercut NFT marketplaces by allowing bidders to directly message asset owners.

And as Ryan Sean Adams of Bankless points out, you could even communicate with hackers, useful in cases when you're trying to negotiate the return of funds.

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