Home-grown Sylo reckons it should be your video chat tool of choice during the lockdown.
And many people are purposefully choosing local products as we seek to keep NZ Inc's wheels moving.
But beyond that, how can Sylo foot it against the multinationals like Zoom, which offer user-friendly products for free?
Co-founder Dorian Johannink says Sylo's blockchain-based platform gives it water-tight security, making it a natural pick for those who care about privacy at a time when the popular Zoom is being buffeted by a series of controversies over its data sharing policies and tech.
And he says its decentralised structure helps performance at a time when the Covid-19 remote-working surge is stressing broadband.
The flipside: Sylo's video chat tool is intertwined with its crypto-coin wallet, which won't appeal to some. But its makers say you don't have to put any digital currency into your Sylo wallet, you can just download its app for Android and iOS and start chatting.
The Herald caught up with Johannink earlier this week.
Herald: What is Sylo?
Johannink: Sylo is a New Zealand based software development house building the largest decentralised network in the world, the Sylo Network, using a decentralised infrastructure called the Sylo Protocol.
Why is PM using Zoom amid sharp questions about its security?
Zoom flaw lets a hacker take control of a victim's webcam, microphone
Chorus, ISPs split on best way to connect students with no broadband
To prove the real world utility of the Sylo Protocol and Network, we built a communications app known as the Sylo Smart Wallet. A next-generation private messenger combined with a digital wallet, the Sylo Smart Wallet enables users to send messages, connect via audio and video calls, send and receive digital assets in chat, as well as store digital assets, all from the safety of a blockchain wallet address. The Sylo Smart Wallet is a one-stop-shop for communications and payments and makes getting into crypto simple for newcomers.
What's its point of difference with Zoom, Skype and all the various freebie apps with big global followings?
The primary difference between the Sylo Smart Wallet and the mainstream 'household name' players is that the Sylo Smart Wallet is built on a decentralised architecture. This means that user data (for example, the content of messages) is delivered from individual to individual, rather than through a central point of control or 'middle man'.
The main benefit of a structure like this is privacy by default, as unlike other messengers, Sylo couldn't read the content of your chats or accumulate your user data even if it wanted to.
However, in a time of crisis like at present, where people are trying their best to continue with life and business by means of video calling, an unexpected benefit of Sylo is that because it isn't a centralised monolith, its network is not overloaded.
Call clarity and accurate notifications are still functioning perfectly on the Sylo app. Another benefit is Sylo's decentralised architecture, as unlike mainstream centralised platforms, where every new user increases the cost and load, degrading performance and requiring the provisioning of more servers to handle the data and communication flows, with the Sylo network, each new user and device that joins the network actually increases the power and performance of the network.
This is an inverse ratio to what major centralised models experience - Sylo Network architecture harnesses the power of the smartphones now in everyone's hands.
How many people are using Sylo? What have been the recent trends?
The Sylo Smart Wallet currently has 150,000 users across more than 50 countries and is growing at a rate of 10,000 per week. This may not sound impressive from a mainstream viewpoint, but in the decentralised realm it's a massive achievement. We're one of the fastest-growing decentralised apps in the world, by a decent margin.
Is there any way to pay for Sylo's video chat service with NZ dollars or does it have to be crypto?
The Sylo Smart Wallet is highly comprehensive and currently supports Bitcoin and ERC-20 compatible tokens, such as CENNZ or Ethereum, which translates to support for hundreds of different digital assets.
Fiat currencies like the NZ dollar are not currently available in the app but may be at a later point in time.
However, the good news is that you don't need NZ dollars on your Sylo Smart Wallet account to access communications services. Simply download the app here , create an account and get started.