Why do I use Keybase?

Discover what are the main features of Keybase, and the core-concepts behind it.

1 What is Keybase

Keybase has been acquired by Zoom
Well….first of all let me start by telling you that Zoom has acquired Keybase.

 Keybase (macOS, Linux, Windows, iPhone/iPad, Android) is an end-to-end encryption software that is used mainly for secure messaging and file sharing. It is a place for work (or not) that uses public key cryptography to ensure that messages stay private. It is suitable for families, roommates, clubs, and groups of friends.

You can share files securely by sharing folders with photos, videos, and documents with end-to-end encryption.

One of the interesting features Keybase offers is exploding messages. You can set a timer on your sensitive messages and they are deleted.

Keybase connects to public identities, too. You can connect with communities from Twitter, Reddit, and elsewhere.

Keybase and Covid-19
Keybase and Covid-19

2 Your Account

Your Keybase account is secured by public-key cryptography. Installing Keybase on your computer or device, adding more devices and paper keys, adding proofs, and following all make your Keybase account more trustworthy and secure.

Account Profile
Your username, devices, proofs, and followers are visible on your Keybase profile

Keybase documentation says:

Your Keybase account and everything you store or share through it in Chat, Files, Teams, Sites, Wallet, and Git are all protected with encryption.

When you create your Keybase account, it’s linked to your devices. You further protect your account with proofs and following. All of these actions are backed by public-key cryptography.

You can learn more about how public-key cryptography works in Security. The gist is that, thanks to public-key cryptography your contacts can be sure your Keybase account belongs to you and that only you can access it. No phishing, spoofing, or scamming around here.

Keybase Account is trustworthy
Your Keybase account is trustworthy and secure because—instead of being protected by just a password—it’s cryptographically linked to your devices. Your account can only be accessed through your devices. So long as only you have access to your devices, only you can access your Keybase account.

2.1 Username

There are 3 things you need to know about usernames:

  1. Your username is public and can’t be changed
  2. Usernames must be lowercase letters and numbers only, with no spaces
  3. Deleting a username and account is permanent

Check it by reading Keybase username docs

2.2 Devices

When you create your Keybase account, Keybase creates a key pair for your account and the device —your phone or computer— that you sign up with.

You can think of your devices and paper keys as keys to your account. You can only access your account through your devices. Paper keys provide backup access to your account in case you lose your devices.

Adding more devices and paper keys helps make your account more secure

Add multiple devices
Add multiple devices and paper keys to your account to ensure its security.

Check it by reading Keybase devices docs

2.3 Proofs

The best way to let others know that your Keybase account belongs to you is to tell them in person. The next best way is through proofs.

Proofs link your Keybase account to your other online accounts. Proofs help people trust that you are really you on Keybase.

You can link your Twitter and GitHub accounts and personal website to your Keybase account as proofs

Add as many proofs as you can
Add as many proofs as you can to provide the most assurance that you are you on Keybase.

Check it by reading Keybase proofs docs

2.4 Following

Following helps keep Keybase accounts secure. It allows you and those you interact with to be notified quickly if something on an account changes, indicating that it may be compromised and isn’t trustworthy.

Following helps confirm that people are who they say they are on Keybase. But it doesn’t necessarily indicate a relationship. More importantly, following helps provide reassurance that accounts are trustworthy and secure.

  1. Follow people you interact with
  2. More followers provide more security
  3. Older followers provide more security than newer ones
  4. Follow soon and follow often
Blocking followers

While even followers you don’t know help keep your account trustworthy, you can block them.

When you block someone, you can remove them from your public list of followers. You won’t see them and their account will not be publicly associated with yours. They also won’t be able to chat with you or add you to a team.

But please note, they will still, technically, be following you. The public record that was created when they followed you will still exist. And they may know that you blocked them if they attempt to chat with you or add you to a team. You can learn more about blocking in Chat.

Check it by reading Keybase following docs

3 Chat

With Keybase you can message your friends, share important info with colleagues, or organize entire projects. All of your chats on Keybase happen in one secure inbox, so you don’t have to worry about privacy.

One-on-one chats are organized at the top of your inbox

If you want to know more about:

  1. Starting a chat
  2. Team chats
  3. Privacy
  4. Special features

… check Keybase chat docs

4 Files

Your most important documents, photos, and videos can be safe and secure by using Keybase Files.

You can store and share files from any device. Individuals can store up to 250 GB and teams can store up to 100 GB.

Files are automatically end-to-end encrypted and signed by you. When a file is signed by you, your private key is used in the encryption. When it’s decrypted, your recipient knows for certain it came from you. Rest assured, they won’t be able to see or guess your private key.

The important thing is: no phishing scams or malevolent links around here.

More about Files here: Keybase file docs

5 Teams

With Teams you can work, connect, and organize. A team on Keybase is simply a group of people. Teams can chat, use files, and collaborate on Git.

Team chats, files, and Git are end-to-end encrypted. What you and your team share, store, and commit stays between you and your team.

Cryptography also protects the integrity of teams on Keybase. Every team member gets a shared key pair. The private key only lives on their devices and is changed anytime someone on the team is removed or revokes a device. This key guarantees that only team admins can add or remove people and edit their permissions.

Person-to-person interactions remain private. Team admins and owners can’t access one-on-one chats between team members or any other interactions they’re not explicitly a part of.

Create or access teams

More about Teams here: Keybase teams docs

6 Sites

Host a website
With Keybase Files you can easily build and host a simple website in your public folder.

More about Sites here: Keybase sites docs

7 Wallet

You can use Keybase Wallet to send, receive, and exchange Stellar Lumens (XLM) and other currencies that are trusted through the Stellar network. All of your transactions are automatically tied to your Keybase account.

Some Wallet features
  1. It works on any device you use Keybase on
  2. Amounts are automatically converted into the currency of your choice

You can learn more on the blog. Or, join the team stellar.public to chat with others.

More about Wallet here: Keybase wallet docs

8 Git

Keybase supports free, encrypted, authenticated, and private Git repositories.

You can put any kind of content in these repositories, but they’re especially useful for personal private repos or for secret content shared among teams.

These repositories are real Git repositories but you can view them in the Keybase app. They’re 100% private, encrypted, and verified.

Create a git repository

More about Git here: Keybase wallet docs

9 Tools

You can encrypt, decrypt, sign, and verify messages and files that need to exist outside of Keybase but remain safe and secure.

Messages and files that have been encrypted or signed through Keybase are converted into a Keybase format called Saltpack (you’ll see Saltpack in the file names). (Encrypted or signed text is also known as ciphertext.)

This allows you to encrypt or sign messages or files and then share or store them safely anywhere. You can decrypt and verify messages and files from others.

Encrypt, Decrypt, Sign and Verify

More about Tools here: Keybase tools docs

10 More info…

A - Privacy B - Security C - Guides D - Docs

11 Conclusion

Keybase is a privacy-oriented set of tools that is aimed to the advanced user. It isn’t very popular due to the device registration and proofs process but this is what makes Keybase an outstanding end-to-end encrypted Swiss-knife solution for chat, file sharing and collaborative platform.

Highly recommended.

Chat with me by accessing my public chat address



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Why do I use Keybase?