Bitfinex and Tether launch peer-to-peer video calling app Keet

Quick Take

  • Bitfinex and Tether have launched Keet: a peer-to-peer video calling app.
  • The two companies have invested $10 million to date in the new project and plan to invest up to $100 million more, CTO Paolo Ardoino told The Block.

Sister crypto companies Bitfinex and Tether have entered a new area of business: building peer-to-peer (P2P) applications.

The two firms — along with P2P infrastructure developer Hypercore — have created a new company and protocol called Holepunch and the trio has launched its first app Keet: a peer-to-peer encrypted video calling app (currently in alpha).

Keet will allow users to schedule audio and video calls, send text chat and share files for free, Bitfinex and Tether said in a statement shared with The Block on Monday. The Keet app is powered by a technology called Distributed Holepunching (DHT) that allows users to locate and connect to each other "using only cryptographic key pairs upon authorization."

Ardoino compared Holepunch to BitTorrent, a P2P file-sharing system, which is now owned by crypto company Tron Foundation after its 2018 acquisition. But with Holepunch, many apps can be created besides file sharing, said Ardoino. "You can rebuild the entire world wide web experience in a fully P2P way," he said.

Five years of effort

Bitfinex, Tether and Hypercore have been building this technology over the last five years, Paolo Ardoino, CTO of the two companies and now also the chief strategy officer of Holepunch, told The Block in an interview.

"So what we have been working towards is to create a platform that would allow users to access applications that are unstoppable and provide freedom of speech," said Ardoino.

"In many places around the world, freedom of speech is extremely more limited than what