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PyBitmessage version 0.3.5
Original author(s)Jonathan Warren
Developer(s)Bitmessage Community
Initial releaseNovember 2012; 9 years ago (2012-11)
Stable release / February 13, 2018; 4 years ago (2018-02-13)
Written inPython, C++ (POW function)
Operating systemWindows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD
Available inEnglish, Esperanto, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Norwegian, Arabic, Chinese
TypeInstant messaging client

Bitmessage is a decentralized, encrypted, peer-to-peer, trustless communications protocol that can be used by one person to send encrypted messages to another person, or to multiple subscribers.

In June 2013, the software experienced a surge of new adoptions after news reports of email surveillance by the US National Security Agency.[1]

Bitmessage was conceived by software developer Jonathan Warren, who based its design on the decentralized digital currency, Bitcoin. The software was released in November 2012 under the MIT license.[1]

Bitmessage gained a reputation for being out of reach of warrantless wiretapping conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA), due to the decentralized nature of the protocol, and its encryption being difficult to crack. As a result, downloads of the Bitmessage program increased fivefold during June 2013, after news broke of classified email surveillance activities conducted by the NSA.[1]

Bitmessage has also been mentioned as an experimental alternative to email by Popular Science[2] and CNET.[3]

Some ransomware programs instruct affected users to use Bitmessage to communicate with the attackers.[4]

PyBitmessage version 0.6.2 (March 1, 2017) had a remote code execution vulnerability. It was fixed in version 0.6.3 (February 13, 2018).[5][6]


  1. ^ a b c Max Raskin (2013-06-27). "Bitmessage's NSA-Proof E-Mail". Business Week.
  2. ^ Dan Nosowitz (2013-08-09). "What Are Your Options Now For Secure Email?". Popular Science.
  3. ^ Molly Wood (2013-08-13). "Gmail: You weren't really expecting privacy, were you?". CNet.
  4. ^ "Chimera Ransomware Tries To Turn Malware Victims Into Cybercriminals". International Business Times. 2015-12-04.
  5. ^ "CVE - CVE-2018-1000070". Retrieved 2022-05-09.
  6. ^ "Fix message encoding bug · Bitmessage/PyBitmessage@3a8016d". GitHub. Retrieved 2022-05-09.

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