3.7 k

What is Ethereum Whisper? A Guide for Beginners

The distributed ledger system supporting blockchain technology has recently caught Wall Street’s interest.

The potential for disruption in the financial industry and beyond is becoming more evident every day. Blockchain has high potential, from cross-border payments to settlements and clearing over-the-counter derivatives.

As many know, one of the leading players in this industry is Ethereum. The goal of Ethereum is to establish a new protocol for building decentralized apps (or Dapps). These apps offer various features that are extremely useful for decentralized application division.

Today we will talk about Ethereum Whisper, one of the key protocols of Ethereum. To avoid overcomplicating the matter, we will first make sure to explain the concept of “blockchain protocol”. After that, we will develop the subject for our readers in more detail.

Understanding protocols in the blockchain industry

A protocol is a collection of rules or processes regulating data movement between two or more electronic devices in computer science.

This protocol establishes the exact information organization necessary for computers to communicate. Specifically, protocols dictate how each side sends and receive information.

The idea of “protocol” first appeared when blockchain technology was not even an abstract idea. To this date, for example, HTTPS is a popular internet protocol.

Concerning the blockchain sphere, protocols decide how all the system nodes communicate. We can see a protocol as a book containing the “blockchain game” rules.

What is Ethereum Whisper, and why does it matter?

The whole concept of the Ethereum Whisper communication protocol revolves around three objectives:

  • providing users with a flexible system
  • launching a secure communication channel on Ethereum
  • most importantly, guaranteeing the users’ anonymity online.

If you are familiar enough with how blockchain works, you will know how easy it is to track transactions in this system. You do not need to be one of the counterparties involved in the operation to get information on the movement.

Ethereum Whisper goes in a whole different direction. Whisper conceals the content of messages and the identities of senders and receivers from observers. The system relies on a double layer of data encryption:

  • Symmetric encryption allows transmitting one-to-many communications using a single encryption and decryption key. The recipients of a message can decrypt the messages sent to them.
  • Asymmetric encryption employs public keys for encryption and private keys for decryption. When communicating with another person, the system uses this type of encryption.

Of course, because of the tight connection with Ethereum, all participants already have public/private key pairs. This mechanism enables the use of the completely encrypted architecture we described above.

More details on Whisper

The RLPx transport protocol suite, handling communication between nodes in Ethereum, serves as the foundation of this system.

While the protocol’s aim is low latency, it is not an ideal solution for real-time communication. Whisper has bandwidth limits as a result of the fact that it is a broadcast protocol at its core.

The maximum size of a message cannot go beyond 64Kb, but most communications are far lighter than that. As in many popular IM apps, messages on Whisper have a time-to-live (or TTL). In other words, they self-destruct after a certain amount of time.

Additionally, whisper messages are assigned a time-to-live (TTL), which means they expire after a certain period.

The tricky aspect of Ethereum Whisper lies in its transmission process. The famous proof-of-work (PoW) mechanism is the one that still governs message distribution. As many know, PoW is a relatively expensive mechanism that new blockchains are trying to avoid.

Looking inside an Ethereum Whisper message

After a theoretical introduction, you may be curious to learn about the actual structure of a Whisper message. Each communication in this framework follows a rigid scheme:

  • Version: This is the protocol’s version number. The information allows the system to distinguish between different decryption formats that messages can use.
  • Data: The communication content is the only part of the message that goes through encryption.
  • TTL (time to live):  As we quickly explained, the TTL is the amount of time left to the message. Ethereum Whisper expresses this field in seconds.
  • Expiry: A UNIX timestamp indicating when a message has reached its expiration date.
  • Topic: A field we can use to indicate whether or not a message is “of interest” to the node receiving it.
  • EnvNonce: A number that helps the PoW method to determine whether the system has already approved the work.
  • AESNonce: The result of the combination between the symmetric encryption system and a key. The AESNonce is always a unique number, which improves the network’s security.

Our conclusions about Ethereum Whisper

The decentralized development of the World Wide Web (or Web 3.0) is the next big tech trend. The idea is to replace centralized online apps with decentralized applications. These tools run on a trusted peer-to-peer (P2P) network, the blockchain, that is changing our lives.

Ethereum live price
price change

In this context, Ethereum Whisper is nothing but one of the many pieces of a complex puzzle. This article provided information on this famous protocol without too many technical details.

Stay up to date with our latest articles

More posts

Are Gold-Backed Tokens Worth Investing During Crypto Bear Market?

The crypto market is under the complete control of bears, investors taking short positions to profit from declining prices. In this unstable environment, new capitalists are fearful or skeptical when funding projects. Instead, they turn to more reliable assets that would not wipe out their portfolios when or if they flop. Gold-backed tokens represent a category of assets ready to provide portfolio stability and allow investors to overcome the bear market without too many losses. On the contrary, gold-pegged tokens…

The Buyback and Burn Practice Explained

In a constantly evolving and growing crypto market, it is difficult for investors to know where to put their money. One popular investment strategy in the crypto space is buying tokens of teams that conduct a buyback and burn program.  This guide will explore what a buyback and burn practice is, how it works, and its benefits and risks. What Is a Crypto Buyback and Burn Practice A crypto buyback and burn practice happens when a company buys back its…

Should You Sell Off Your Crypto Assets During a Bear Market?

Selling your crypto assets during a bear market can be a hard choice. On the one hand, selling off your assets may seem logical during a down market. On the other hand, you may be worried about missing out on potential profits if the market rebounds.  This guide will illustrate the benefits and risks of selling off your crypto assets during a bear market. While you should always do your own research, we will also share some tips for doing…

Why Do Some Crypto Projects Issue More than One Token?

In recent years, the popularity of cryptocurrency has exploded. As a result, more and more people are looking to invest in crypto projects. However, not all projects are equal, and it can be challenging to determine which ones are worth investing in. This guide aims to help investors make informed decisions about which crypto projects to invest in. It will explain multi-token models and why they have become so popular among crypto projects.  The guide will also outline the benefits…

How to Spot a Crypto Project with Great Tokenomics?

In the cryptocurrency world, there are a lot of projects with amazing tokenomics. However, it can be challenging to determine which projects are worth investing in.  This guide will help you spot a project with great tokenomics. In this way, you can make a great decision about where to invest your money.  Before analyzing the technical components of tokenomics, there are other red flags you should be able to spot. Our guide will begin with this premise and then move…

A Guide to the Signs that a Crypto Project is About to Fail

Cryptocurrencies are digital assets and a payment system invented by Satoshi Nakamoto. They use cryptography to secure their transactions and control new units' creation. Cryptocurrencies are decentralized, not subject to government or financial institution control. Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, appeared in 2009. With the rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies, there has also been an increase in crypto projects that end up failing.  This guide will explore the signs that a crypto project will fail. By understanding these signs, you can…

An Easy Guide to Initial Gaming Offerings (IGO)

Initial Gaming Offerings, or IGOs, have been gaining in popularity as of late. This guide will explore the ins and outs of IGO investing. The aim of this post is to help you make informed decisions about this investment opportunity.  We'll cover everything from what they are and how they work to the benefits and risks associated with them. At the end of the guide, you will find it easier to assess IGOs on the market. What Are IGOs, and…

Initial Metaverse Offerings (IMO) – A Beginner’s Guide

Initial Metaverse Offerings (IMO) allow businesses to raise money by issuing tokens on the blockchain. IMO offer investors a chance to get in on the ground floor of exciting new projects. Through an IMO, you may provide businesses with the capital they need to get started.  This guide will explore what IMO are, how they work, and what you need to know before investing in one. What Are Initial Metaverse Offerings (IMO)? Initial Metaverse Offerings are a way for blockchain…

Top 5 Crypto Portfolio Trackers To Use in 2022

An active cryptocurrency trader cannot do without the support of a crypto portfolio tracker. Not if they want to be successful at trading or investing. A crypto portfolio tracker is an app enabling you to monitor the amount and value of your crypto assets across all wallets, exchanges, platforms, and blockchain networks in real-time. It allows you to track historic transactions, live crypto prices, gains, and losses. Above all, it prevents you from mismanaging your portfolio while getting the best…

Five Gold-Backed Crypto to Consider in the Current Inflationary Economy

Many traders are optimistic about the blockchain's development potential and recognize that volatility is inevitable with new technology. Some are asking how to invest in digital assets while maintaining some degree of stability. A relevant part of investors frequently mentions stablecoins as a valid investment alternative. Anchoring the value of crypto to a fiat currency can undoubtedly sound appealing. However, fiat money depreciates as inflation increases, making stablecoins less valuable. In this particular context, the crypto market is offering a…