Corruption and oppression go hand in hand. Nothing exemplifies  this more than the recent news from China that their corrupt and  oppressive government has recently shut down several online news  operations. These include political and social news sites together with  social network accounts. The harsh rhetoric used by the Department of  Mind Control shows how much the Chinese government despises those  entities and individuals whose only goal is to distribute news and  information and give all people a voice. State controlled media is the name of the game in China and the single-party state is not content to just ban Facebook and Twitter but it is going after homegrown networks also.

We see this trend worldwide where governments want to stifle dissent in order to stay in power and, in the worst of cases, wanting to cover up human rights abuses.

Earlier this year the  Brazilian government used the courts to block WhatsApp for 72 hours as  it seems they did not like being unable to peer into the private communications of their citizens. This happened again just a couple of  weeks ago and it seems what the government cannot control should be  blocked or even banned.

In Germany and France there is talk of  blocking encryption all together, banning VPNs and making sure they can  read everything which goes over the so called clear net. The war on  encryption is actually going on worldwide, with some companies being  forced to give master keys to governments. What many call the war on  terror, is actually a war on privacy and freedom. This is very dangerous  as software with government backdoors also gives hackers and crackers an opportunity get access to those keys. Let's face it, bad guys will always find a way to use encrypted communications but the rest of the  world won't. So their war is hurting everyone else and gives more  opportunities to the actual enemy.

In Venezuela, the failing  Socialist regime tries to maintain its legitimacy by closing down radio  and TV stations. However, for a representative democracy to work, there needs to be some form of political opposition in order to maintain  checks and balances.

But the peaceful opposition which exposes the truth in Venezuela is quickly portrayed as being the enemy.

Also  in Venezuela, they have launched TV campaigns against Bitcoin, blaming  the "dangerous" cryptocurrency for being responsible for their  inflation. It has nothing to do with printing money like there is no  tomorrow so it must be bitcoin to blame!

Governments and banks are  in partnership trying to push the world into being an entirely cashless  and controlled society with the banks, Visa and MasterCard being the  masters of the universe. We have seen Cyprus and Greece limiting the  money supply to ATMs and this is becoming a worldwide problem.

Privacy  and control need to be put back into the hands of the individual. Gold  is of course a great tool to safely store your assets but can you travel  with it? Moreover, governments would love to get their hands on your  gold and perhaps make it illegal to own. We have seen this in the past  and it is not unlikely that it could happen again.

At Decentralize  Today we have mentioned before that when something can be decentralized, people will decentralize it. Crypto currency is a chance  for people to get their hands on an asset which can be used for all  types of payments and yet be hidden from government snooping. Whilst  bitcoin is such a crypto currency and the most accepted, the downside is  that it can be traced. It is psuedo-anonymous.

Many great crypto  currency projects have been launched and many of those look interesting.  But the one which has fascinated us for a while is taking center stage  with a release which will bring privacy, money and communication to an  entirely new level. Unlike other crypto currencies, it does not focus  just on the payment part alone.

The Shadow Project has been mentioning Aphrodite for a while now and talk about a  marketplace has been going on for even longer. We have had a long talk  with the developers behind the project and understanding what has been  done behind the scenes is just mind-blowing.

Code, who is one of  the developers, has added some more features which improve security, and  takes the chat to a new level, aiming to be the Slack of  decentralization. The entire chat system has been re-vamped from the  ground up. There are features like group chats, invites, address books,  link sharing, emojis and picture sharing. There is also message  verification and signing transactions on the blockchain. Together with  many other useful tools this makes the new GUI outstanding when compared  to other wallets out there. CRZ and Ryno have had plenty of headaches  changing things in the source code, fixing and improving to make the  release speedier and way more secure.

The new GUI will be the backbone of a number of software releases all of which will be blended into one privacy ecosystem.

The  pinnacle of decentralization and freedom of communication will soon be  attained. The Shadowchat and Groupchat are the cornerstone for the  Marketplace release, with communication being an important tool when you  want to stay private on the platform. It would be pointless to sell  goods privately but communicate with an app which leaks metadata or  worst of all the date of the transaction. Furthermore, the chat is also  the perfect tool for whistle-blowers, journalists and basically anyone  who wants to freely express themselves. This can be done privately  within a group by invitation only, or in a public group where all you  need is the public key to access. There are no limitations on the number  of people and users can post as much as they want for as long as they  want.

The most important aspect is that it cannot be shut down.  There is no middleman who will object and take control, no DNS to be  switched off or a domain to block. The users themselves are the nodes  and they create and maintain the ever expanding decentralized ecosystem  over which the system runs. Unlike most other encrypted messengers out  there, Shadowchat neither keeps logs nor collects metadata. The latter  is particularly intrusive and dangerous as it can be tracked by three  letter agencies and governments. But with Shadowchat your profile is a  big zero and you leave nothing but a shadow.

There is also the  option for developers to build other software features into the open  source release and many other features are already being worked on.  There is a "butler" which assists in the buying of Shadowcash from  other crypto currencies and even directly via fiat. With more features  to come, such as improvements to the chat and group chat functions,  there will be a rolling release distribution, receiving updates as soon  they are ready. Most importantly, the release will be the backbone of  the long awaited Marketplace. The GUI was needed to implement the  Marketplace and with it, Ryno and his team finally have the tool they  need. Ryno has now moved on from the GUI development and concentrates on  finalizing the Marketplace.

This will be the first step into a  totally decentralized privacy tool which gives you the freedom to  express yourself, to communicate with others, to buy and sell goods, and  to be part of a fully privacy orientated future. Paying, chatting,  communicating and starting e-commerce out of a single application.

Whilst Aphrodite is the version name, it seems that something bigger is really going on:... (project name changed to particl.io)

Particl.io • Privacy-focused Decentralized Applications
Particl provides a decentralized privacy platform with a suite of tools to enhance your online privacy • Private currency • Decentralized Marketplace • Crypto agnostic