A Comprehensive Overview of Decentralized Communication Infrastructure
Colin Wu . 2024-04-30 . Data

Author: GaryMa

In the era of Web 2.0, the internet framework was primarily composed of three fundamental infrastructure modules: computation, storage, and communication. As we transition into Web 3.0, the banner of “decentralization” is raised high. While Ethereum and numerous other public chains have emerged for general computation, and solutions like Filecoin and Arweave have arisen for storage, the field of communication seems to lack mature solutions. Enter SendingNetwork, the protagonist of this article, committed to filling this void.

The communication infrastructure module in Web 2.0 is the TCP/IP protocol stack, divided into four layers from top to bottom: the application layer, transport layer, network layer, and physical layer. However, due to the inherent centralization in TCP/IP, certain flaws have gradually surfaced, such as:

● At the application layer, accessing websites relies on DNS resolution services. If the system is compromised, users may be directed to malicious servers, leading to privacy breaches or data tampering.

● At the transport layer, communication security depends on SSL/TLS protocols, which rely on certificates issued by trusted Certificate Authorities (CAs). This creates a dependency on centralized trust entities and exposes users to significant trust risks.

● At the network layer, the limited distribution of IP addresses by a few entities results in resource control concentrated in the hands of a few countries and organizations.

To address these issues, SendingNetwork has decided to build a TCP/IP protocol stack for the Web 3.0, achieving comprehensive decentralization from the application layer to the physical layer.

It’s worth noting that the concepts of layers such as the application layer, network layer, and physical layer are named to facilitate understanding and describing different functionalities and responsibilities in network communication processes. In actual technical architecture, the boundaries between layers may not be as distinct as theoretical concepts suggest.

In the following sections, we will first analyze SendingNetwork’s own technical architecture. Based on this, we will further illustrate how SendingNetwork is reconstructing the TCP/IP protocol stack.

SendingNetwork’s Three-Layer Network Architecture

SendingNetwork adopts a three-layer network architecture: the client access layer, relay layer, and consensus layer, utilizing Proof of Relay and Proof of Availability consensus algorithms to incentivize nodes.

At the client access layer, applications such as games, wallets, and NFT markets integrate SendingNetwork’s SDK as message clients, allowing users to send and receive end-to-end encrypted messages. These messages are transmitted to the relay layer through client nodes, which can be trusted terminal devices such as user’s mobile phones, tablets, or computers. Additionally, WatchDog nodes act as client nodes, randomly selecting and forwarding messages through relay nodes to detect their online status.

The relay layer consists of Edge nodes, which not only forward and relay messages but also use P2P protocols to find message recipients or other relay nodes for further forwarding. Edge nodes provide bandwidth resources and computing services to clients, assisting in caching encrypted messages for offline users and establishing high-speed communication channels with online users. All data passing through Edge nodes is encrypted and signed to ensure data confidentiality and integrity. Edge nodes also generate multi-signature bills based on the Proof of Relay workload proof mechanism and submit these proofs to the consensus layer to earn rewards.

The consensus layer is maintained by Guardian nodes, forming a Layer 2 network based on ZK-Rollup. They are responsible for verifying workload proofs submitted by Edge nodes and challenge information provided by WatchDog nodes. Relay proofs and availability proofs assess the service quality and online status of each Edge node to ensure high-quality decentralized communication services. Finally, Guardian nodes verify and confirm node rewards, effectively driving the network’s smooth operation through incentive mechanisms.

SendingNetwork: TCP/IP Protocol Stack for the Web 3.0

As mentioned earlier, Web 2.0 TCP/IP protocol stacks have exposed certain flaws. Now, let’s illustrate how SendingNetwork is reconstructing the TCP/IP protocol stack from the application layer to the physical layer.

Application Layer: Instant Messaging Protocols and More

The application layer of the TCP/IP protocol stack includes numerous protocols such as HTTP(S), XMPP, SMTP, POP3, FTP, SIP, RTMP, and CDN. In the Web 2.0 era, these protocols relied on centralized hubs like XMPP’s instant messaging (IM) servers and SMTP’s email servers, requiring trust in application servers. In the new design, centralized systems should be replaced by various network nodes at the network layer, freeing application layer protocols from having to concern themselves with specific application servers. Besides defining data packet formats at the transport/network layers, the entire implementation of the application layer should be based on the decentralized infrastructure of the network layer. This structure enables the network layer to provide a solid, decentralized foundation for all types of applications.

Among these protocols, HTTPS, XMPP, and SMTP are the most common. XMPP and its variants for instant messaging, as well as SMTP for email, form the backbone of daily social interactions.

Therefore, SendingNetwork has also introduced an application layer social protocol — decentralized instant messaging protocol, to help developers achieve secure, private messaging within and outside applications, enabling end-to-end encrypted communication based on wallet addresses:

● Introduced a dynamic group chat encryption mechanism based on the Double Ratchet algorithm to ensure communication security.

● Proposed a delegation scheme to ensure efficient processing of messages in large group chats, enhancing elasticity and scalability.

● Leveraged its three-layer network architecture (access layer — relay layer — consensus layer) to overcome limitations and shortcomings of existing solutions. This architecture realizes an adaptive dynamic message relay network, reduces user reliance on network nodes, protects privacy information and account ownership, and improves system scalability and efficiency.

On the product side, an instant messaging application, SendingMe, has been launched, which can be seen as a decentralized Discord+MetaMask. Moreover, user accounts can be associated with wallet addresses, enabling easy transfer and transaction within the application. SendingMe is currently in the invitation-only beta testing phase.

In addition to instant messaging protocols, the application layer has a wide range of use cases, such as:

● Deploying websites based on wallet addresses/ENS domains.

● Decentralized email systems.

● Message queue protocols similar to Kafka, RabbitMQ, and more.

Network Layer: IP Address with Financial Attributes and Blockchain Account Association

To address the limitations of IP address scarcity, the ability to associate IP addresses directly with blockchain account addresses, compatibility with the current Web 2.0 network, and to ensure decentralized domain name resolution, SendingNetwork has established two main address types for the network layer:

● Unicast addresses: With unique determinism, composed of segment IDs, subnet IDs, host IDs, NIC IDs, and other major IDs, can uniquely determine a network card device in the network.

● Anycast addresses: Corresponding to wallet addresses, can bind multiple unicast addresses.

In addition to this, unicast addresses will be allocated through smart contracts, compatible with existing IPv4/IPv6 to ensure network operation until full-scale deployment.

Transport Layer: DID Document Verification

The main goal of reconstructing the transport layer is to ensure secure transmission while eliminating dependence on centralized CAs for trust.

Securing internet connections, such as those to HTTPS websites, typically relies on SSL/TLS protocols which depend on CAs to authenticate the server’s authenticity. SendingNetwork eliminates this dependency by using on-chain DID documents, thereby maintaining security without relying on centralized entities.

At the beginning of a connection, sockets initiate a handshake to verify the identities involved using DID documents stored on the blockchain. Since both parties’ unicast addresses are registered on the blockchain and linked to their anycast (wallet) addresses, the traditional DNS service used by CAs is unnecessary, as the blockchain provides secure, verifiable, and immutable registration. Once the DID document is found and provides a valid signature, it verifies whether the entity you are communicating with is the legitimate owner of that identifier.

Physical Layer: DePIN Decentralized Routers

At the physical layer, specialized routers are promoted in DePIN mode, forming the core of decentralized infrastructure. In addition to large service providers, idle household bandwidth can also be utilized to increase overall network capacity. Users only need to install a specific hardware device at their residence to earn income by contributing bandwidth.

DePIN is an application infrastructure based on physical devices that use virtual assets to encourage users to deploy hardware devices, thus establishing and maintaining a decentralized ecosystem. In this ecosystem, users provide computing power, storage space, bandwidth, and GPU resources and receive corresponding rewards, such as AI DePIN projects related to computation and Filecoin related to storage.

Currently, there are over billions of smart devices globally, and communication networks are the foundation of these DePIN ecosystems. However, existing DePIN projects mostly communicate over the TCP/IP protocol stack of the internet, which is centralized. Key resources such as IP addresses, authentication authorities, and centralized DNS services all operate within a centralized service framework. In traditional internet architecture, a few countries or institutions control critical resources such as DNS root domain servers and certificate authorities. The stability and security of the network depend to a large extent on these centralized organizations. These resources are usually distributed down along strict hierarchical structures, forming a tree-like management system. SendingNetwork aims to break this hierarchical structure, flatten the network, promote the circulation of network resources, and lower the barriers to access these resources.

The decentralized DePIN routing network built by SendingNetwork will be established on top of its reconstructed communication stack, based on the new decentralized IP address allocation system, transport layer secure handshake based on on-chain identity, while ensuring compatibility with existing networks, etc., gradually achieving decentralization from the application layer to the network layer, and even the physical layer of communication.

SendingNetwork Background & Roadmap

The core team of Sending Labs began working at Microsoft in 2006, where they were responsible for developing the Windows operating system and Internet Explorer on mobile devices. In 2010, they founded Dolphin Browser, which quickly became one of the world’s top mobile browsers with 200 million users.

A key moment for Sending Labs was when Dolphin Browser was suddenly removed from the Google Play store at the peak of its reputation. The massive support from users not only led to the re-listing of the app but also propelled it to the top of the store rankings. This event highlighted the power of community support and the vulnerability of centralized platforms, prompting the team to turn to the principles of Web3. Eventually, the team decided to sell Dolphin Browser and build SendingNetwork.

Sending Labs has completed two rounds of financing:

● A $12.5 million seed round led by Insignia Venture Partners, MindWorks Capital, and Signum Capital, with participation from K3 Ventures, LingFeng Innovation Fund, UpHonest Capital, and Aipollo Investment. The round started in August last year, and the valuation has not been disclosed.

● A $7.5 million financing round with Nomad Capital, Symbolic Capital, Web3 com Ventures, Galxe, SWC Global, Balaji Srinivasan, and Yield Guild Games co-founder Gabby Dizon participating. The structure of this financing round is a simple Future Equity Agreement (SAFE) and ended in October last year.

SendingNetwork is currently in the testnet token mining phase. The testnet will unfold in three different stages:

● Testnet Alpha 1 stage: Focuses on relay proof testing (current stage, node type is relay node).

● Testnet Alpha 2 stage: Focuses on availability proof testing (node type is Guardian node).

● Testnet Beta stage: Introduces enhanced availability proof features and integrates applications of specific Layer2 blockchains.

Additionally, it has been announced that the WatchDog node presale will start in May. WatchDog nodes are designed to run on ordinary PCs, laptops, and other devices, ensuring ease of participation and low barriers to entry, allowing contributors to easily become part of the decentralized communication DePIN network.


SendingNetwork’s three-layer architecture, based on decentralized routers, allows every household to join the relay network. Global routers and data center nodes together create a widespread decentralized network where developers can build applications, provide high-speed experiences for DePIN facilities, and optimize the reading speed of storage services such as Filecoin. Meanwhile, users’ personal data is securely stored on local devices, eliminating concerns about privacy breaches. Economically, users can not only pay network fees with tokens but also earn income by sharing idle bandwidth, storage, and IP resources.

Narratively, SendingNetwork is a project with a solid narrative. DePIN at the physical layer, communication social protocols at the application layer, decentralized identity DID at the transport layer, etc., undoubtedly add many highlights to the project itself, raising the overall ceiling of the project. With a starting point of $20 million in total financing from the seed round, the project has the confidence to realize its grand narrative.

We look forward to SendingNetwork filling the gap in decentralized communication infrastructure in the Web 3.0 era and reconstructing the TCP/IP stack belonging to the Web 3.0 era.

This article is provided by a third party and does not represent WuBlockchain’s views.

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