Mainframe Review: Totally Private Web Communications

Mainframe Review: Totally Private Web Communications

Mainframe bills themselves as a company providing ‘the web3 communications layer.’ Their whitepaper shows that they are focused on delivering ‘an incentivized and fully decentralized communications layer that enables reliable, secure packet routing, packet delivery, packet holding, file storage and data services.’ The company offers an advanced communication system that provides complete security and resistance to censorship and surveillance.

The founders of Mainframe recognized that internet communications and user data are being used without the best interest of the users themselves. Their goal was to create a decentralized way of communication and transferring information online. The ecosystem they’ve created is powered by their token, MFT.

In this article we’ll examine some of the key features that Mainframe offers, have a quick look at how it works, and examine how their MFT token works.

Mainframe Key Feature

Mainframe aspires to be a fully decentralized messaging platform for organizations. Imagine a decentralized version of Slack with ‘dark routing’ and some extra features. From their London headquarters they’ve been working on their platform for the last two years, and have created some powerful systems that make the Mainframe platform truly unique:

  • Encryption

    One of the standout features of the service is that user content cannot be opened by an outside party. The Mainframe protocol makes use of the latest and most secure end-to-end encryption. This means that messages you send on the platform for both P2P and group communications remain secure at all times.

  • Dark routing

    Mainframe claim that it’s ‘effectively impossible’ to identify or monitor even the existence of communication between two parties thanks to their dark routing technology. Dark routing means that nodes on the network are decentralized and that data packets are sent to all nodes that match the partially disclosed destination address, but only the intended recipient node can decrypt the data.

  • Incentivization

    This is where the MFT token comes into play. The use of the token encourages users to dedicate more bandwidth to the various services Mainframe provides. In turn they are rewarded with MFT tokens. The aim is to promote the ecosystem’s growth.

  • Peer-to-Peer Architecture

    The nature of Mainframe’s network means that it can’t be shut down or censored. This is because of the P2P infrastructure which distributes the data services that run Mainframe across the network.

  • Interoperability

    Mainframe’s final key feature is their aim to make the network work anywhere and for any purpose. Any app, network, or blockchain that requires a private communication service can access the Mainframe SDK, depending on the needs of that community.

Why Mainframe?

Mainframe WebsiteWe’ve outlined the key selling points that Mainframe promotes on their website, but who is it that will benefit from their services? The service will appeal most to organizations that communicate in real-time and use features such as file sharing. Current services such as Slack provide this service already. However, the data that is generated by these existing services is usually visible to the service provider and can be easily compromised. The information that passes through these systems is stored centrally, putting them at risk of data breaches and service outages.

Mainframe aims to change the way that organizations communicate, with their focus on a decentralized and secure way of messaging. Those who are concerned about data privacy, security, and a consistent level of service will find the platform an appealing prospect. There can be little doubt that all of these aspects are increasingly important, with more and more stories of data breaches and service outages being seen. Whether or not the token-driven approach will be appealing enough for companies to adopt the platform on a wider scale remains to be seen, but the fundamentals of the service definitely seem desirable.

How Mainframe Works

Blockchain technology is at the heart of Mainframe’s setup. Again, drawing from their whitepaper, ‘Mainframe consists of a Kademelia-based peer-to-peer network used to propagate and execute blockchain transactions.’ The company also worked closely with blockchain giants the Ethereum Foundation while developing their technology. This culminated in Mainframe demoing an Alpha build of their Onyx messaging system at Ethereum’s Devcon3 convention in late 2017.

Part of the ingenuity of the Mainframe system is that it’s scalable depending on how many users/nodes there are on the network. The communication protocol doesn’t depend on a specific set of nodes to run it. Instead, the systems are operated and dispersed across the network. As we mentioned above, the dark routing system for packet transfer means that multiple nodes are utilized when information is being sent between two users. More users and nodes mean more potential pathways that can be utilized. If a peer is dropped from the network, Mainframe finds other pathways to utilize instead.

The Mainframe Token: MFT

As we mentioned briefly above, Mainframe’s token, MFT, is used to power the ecosystem. It is a reward given to the nodes that keep the network running. It’s a way to ensure that the network continues to grow and gain momentum. The company also intends that MFT will help keep the platform decentralized and impartial.

MFT are ERC20 tokens, meaning it is compatible with the Ethereum blockchain. Peer nodes in the network agree to host certain services, and can advertise the price (in MFT) that they charge for using those services. This links back to the point on interoperability; anyone can use the network providing they agree with the peer node on the services, pricing, and medium of exchange. MFT can also be used as an asset, exchangeable for goods and services on the Mainframe platform. Mainframe announced in February that they would be running a token generation event, selling 50% of their token supply for around 30,000 ETH.

It was only possible to partake in the private pre-sale of the token by being introduced by someone who was already a part of the private presale. This interesting tactic shows that the focus of the business is very much on bringing together people who are passionate about and who can help develop this project.

As their Telegram following hit 20,000 members, Mainframe announced that they would be giving away $3 million worth of MFT to the general public. Rather than selling them, the company decided to ‘crowdgift’ them. They will visit a variety of cities (initially in Asia) to airdrop the tokens, literally apparently, to physical attendees.

Mainframe: A New Way to Communicate?

It seems like there is a lot to be excited about with Mainframe. Their approach to the internet and communications is certainly different, and given the turbulent times surrounding privacy and security, it’s definitely welcome. There are potentially exciting times ahead for this company. Their tech is innovative and the fact that they can demonstrate an early build of what they’re doing is encouraging. There’s room to expand, and quite possibly a huge existing demand for exactly the services that are on offer.

The MFT token is not intended as an investment opportunity, or a get rich quick scheme. Instead, Mainframe hopes it will power a decentralized communications network that will change the way we deal with data. It’s an exciting prospect, and their approach is incredibly refreshing.

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