What is River?

River is a protocol for building decentralized real-time messaging apps. It consists of an EVM-compatible L2 chain, decentralized off-chain stream nodes, and smart contracts that are deployed on Base. River allows people to create programmable communication use cases, referred to as “Spaces,” in a permissionless manner. These Spaces are ownable, feature on-chain subscriptions (”Memberships”), extendable reputation system, and end-to-end message encryption.

Purpose and Vision

At its core, the ecosystem seeks to empower people to create, manage, and participate in digital communities in a secure and permissionless manner. The primary goal is to provide a robust, secure, and decentralized platform where people have complete control over their data, privacy, and engagement in these digital spaces, while protecting their reputation. The vision extends to fostering an era of digital social that is both user-centric and community-driven, leveraging blockchain technology to ensure trust and security.

River’s goal is ambitious. To secure freedom of communication for a sustainable permissionless future.

Key features

An app chain purposefully built for social networking – River secures Read/write entitlements separately on Base, allowing our app chain to make liveliness tradeoffs and send messages to thousands of participants as fast as any existing centralized social network.

Ownable communication – Space creators truly own the space they created as an onchain asset.

Programmable spaces – Spaces are deployed onchain with programmable interfaces allowing the rules, like who can read and write, to be customized to integrate with any other external EVM-compatible contract.

On-chain memberships with built-in protocol fees – Users are required to hold a valid membership token to send and receive messages in a Space. Pricing for membership enforces a protocol fee used to pay for the operation of the network.

On-chain social graph – Membership tokens and Spaces are discoverable on chain.

Extendable reputation system – River’s communication spaces can be programmed to allow members peer-based, Space-specific ratings discoverable on chain.

End-to-end encrypted messaging - Ensures secure, private communication with advanced encryption, protecting messages between sender and entitled users.

High-Level Component Summary

  1. River Smart Contracts: Deployed on the Base Mainnet Chain, an Ethereum Layer 2 platform, these contracts enable users to create and manage their programmable communication space. Each space is minted as a unique entity, with the minter receiving an owner token, representing their controlling interest in the space. The smart contracts facilitate various functionalities, including membership pricing, gated-access, role-based entitlements, and moderation customizations for each space.
  2. River Protocol: The backbone for social messaging within the ecosystem. It comprises the River Chain and Stream Nodes, collectively managing encrypted communications across the network. The protocol ensures secure and private group messaging, essential for maintaining the integrity of communications within each space.
  3. River Association: River Association is responsible for governance and stewarding the Protocol. It oversees major decisions, protocol upgrades, and node operations, employing a participatory voting system that balances the interests of Space Owners, Space Members, and Node Operators.
  4. Clients: River is a permissionless protocol meaning anyone can build a client to interact with it. Here is a list of popular clients already building on River: Towns, LateCheckout