You can download the app here
Today I’m happy to announce that Origin Horizon’s first app is now available for download. Welcome to Cryptonium: A privacy-focused app for all your thoughts and ideas. With Cryptonium, you can create beautiful Markdown notes and organize them using powerful features such as sub notebooks and tags.
I built Cryptonium because I wanted a place where I could jot down ideas and write my thoughts without worrying about data breaches. I’ve tried to base the app’s purpose on three important foundations
- Data needed to be secure. I wanted to create an app where nothing the user ever typed was stored in plaintext on a server. I wanted the data to be impossible to access by anyone expect the user.
- No account registration. This was a hard one, but I am sick of apps that require you to signup and create an account, and all the marketing “onboarding” emails that soon follow. I wanted Cryptonium to never require a scrap of personal data like an email in order to be used.
- Modern Note-taking app. As I worked out the basics of the security layer and a zero-knowledge authentication, I wanted to make sure that the app still looked and worked like a first class note-taking app. Notes needed to be able to sync to all your device. Editor features such as markdown needed to be available, as did power organization options for your notes.
Today I believe these 3 requirements have been met. And this is only the beginning. I intend to provide regular updates and ensure that bugs are fixed and the app grows with the platform.
Let’s talk about the primary features of the app in a little more detail:
A Secure Data Solution
Cryptonium takes your privacy very seriously
There are no backdoors. To read and write to your data, you need a private key to first decrypt it. This key is never stored on the server or sent anywhere, and you are given the only copy. What happens to your private key depends on you. If you lose it, you will lose the ability to decrypt your data, so there is no password recovery option, or way for me to help you regain access
So store your private key in a secure place, and don’t lose it
Doing things this way might seem unintuitive, but here is the important thing: You have full ownership of your notes and data. You also have true security, since the only way to keep a secret is to not share it. If I can’t get to your data, neither can hackers or Law Enforcement.
I am a firm believer in privacy. Your thoughts and ideas belong to you to spread as far and wide as you like, or keep as private as possible. They sure as hell shouldn’t be mined out to some algorithm that decides what ads you should be shown (ex: basically every Google product you use). It’s time to leave the Dark Age of consumer-as-product services behind, and demand services that don’t spy on us. An encrypted note-taking app isn’t much, but I hope it is a small step toward a better future.
Anonymous Authentication is a oxymoron, but I hope it underscores one of the major challenges which came up during development: How to sync data between devices (which requires a form of identity) without requiring the registration of personal information such as email?
To solve this, Cryptonium takes heavy inspiration from cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. You create a wallet to store your data in. The wallet consists of two pieces:
- A public address to write data to
- A private key used to read and write data to the address
The address provides you with a unique identify not tied to any personal information, and the private key is used for authentication to ensure you are the only one who can read and write. To make things dead easy, you are given a QR code. Scanning this code with the app will link your devices together and sync data between them. You can view an overview of the process below:
Keep in mind that this is an oversimplification of how things work. The actual process is much more complicated, but I won’t go into all that just now.
Handling authentication and syncing like this means a few things:
First, syncing devices is dead easy. There is no registering for an account or verifying emails or any of that nonsense. You don’t even have to type anything. Open the app, scan a QR code, and you’re linked.
You don’t provide a scrap of personal information. This process instead allows you to remain anonymous. It means that you won’t be getting a bunch of annoying marketing emails from me.
You have full and complete ownership of your data. You are the only person who is ever given the private key, so make sure you keep it safe!
First Class App Features
Cryptonium doesn’t mess around when it comes to things like Encryption and Zero-Knowledge authentication. But by themselves, these things aren’t enough. I wanted it to be the kind of app that I would use myself without any tradeoffs in performance or features. This often meant going back to the drawing board until things were just right.
Cryptonium uses these things:
Realtime, Offline Data Sync
Your data syncs in real time to your linked devices. This means that you can create a note on your first device, and see it instantly load on the second.
The database is also built to be abstracted away from the network layer, and uses an offline first approach for storing things. These means that your notes and work is available, even if a network connection isn’t. If the internet goes down while you are writing, the app will continue to persist your note locally, wait for the internet connection to resume, and then sync your note to the server and your other devices.
Native Support for Apple Platforms
Cryptonium is a native app, built for iOS and iPadOS. I’ve stayed away from any wrapper or web-based solutions because I wanted to leverage the full power of the platforms the app was built for without fighting any frameworks.
Additionally, the app uses Catalyst, which is the latest solution developed by Apple to bring iOS apps to the Mac. The shared codebase allows for more rapid development, but I’ve also created separate designs around iPhone, iPad, and Mac ensure that Cryptonium feels at home on each one.
Markdown Supported Editor
Arguably, the most important feature is the Editor, since this is where you’ll spend most of your time in the app.
A variety of text styling options are available to you.
• Headings (H1 to H6)
• Comments (to mark up your writing and leave yourself notes)
• Inline code
• Code Blocks
• Bullet Lists
• Numbered Lists
• Todo Lists
• Block quotes.
And there is more to come, including robust support for images and urls.
Flexible But Powerful Organization
The app uses a variety of organizational tools to help you organize your notes in a way that makes sense to you.
There are several filters in place for you in the app:
1. Inbox allows you to write first, and organize later
2. All Notes does what it says: Shows you all of your notes
3. Recent Allows you to view the last 10 notes you have accessed
You have Workspaces, which live on the app’s root sidebar. Inside a workspace, you create notes and can also add sub-notebooks. This allows you a hierarchical data structure that doesn’t make assumptions, but lets you sort and order things in the way that makes the most sense for your work.
Notes can have tags added to them. Using this feature, you can assign a single note membership to multiple locations, and quickly view similar notes grouped together. I’ve found that tags are a great way to provide a flat cross section into your data, and they tend to complement Workspaces perfectly.
Try It Out Today
Cryptonium uses a subscription plan for PRO users. The app comes with a 30 day trial period so you can try it out for free with plenty of time to cancel if it isn’t for you.
And if you’ve rather not use a trial period, you can skip the process entirely and just try the app out. This will allow you to create up to 10 Notes, which should be plenty to decide if Cryptonium is a good fit for you.