PSYC is, as benchmarks show, the fastest yet extensible text-based protocol we are aware of, providing a messaging infrastructure for human conversation and social exchange of possibly binary data.

It has learned from protocols such as IRC and XMPP and chose an approach that should scale globally by generalizing the multicast concept beyond programmable chatrooms to presence awareness, event notification, news- and friendcasting. In commercial settings PSYC is also being used for telephony and audio/video.

PSYC provides trust metrics for a distributed social graph and publish/subscribe data. In combination with pseudonymous routing technology it turns into secushare, a platform for distributed social networking and applications that provide cryptographic authentication for the people in it but protect all communications and metadata (the information who is talking to whom) from external observers.

Who needs yet another chat system? Well, both IRC and XMPP are unable to provide metadata privacy and they also fail to scale to the kind of usage numbers that cloud systems can offer. PSYC aims to achieve both scalability and privacy.



PSYC is currently in a phase of heavy renewal. There is a whole stack of software working with the old protocol syntax and the federation paradigm where you pick a psyced server to host your identity, you log into it, then enter chatrooms distributed over a whole network of other servers.

The new approach instead uses a hybrid strategy of pseudonymous peer-to-peer routing combined with helpful dumb servers. The intention is to arrive at an unheard degree of privacy, far beyond the usual PGP and OTR installations. The new stack, based on libpsyc, also uses a new protocol syntax, renewed for efficiency. The secure share project is our prototype platform for the new PSYC. We call it PSYC2.

While the new project is exciting, it is still only offering very basic service. The old stack instead is loaded with features such as IRC and XMPP compatibility. There is a possibility to teach psyced to act as a gateway for PSYC2, thus combining the old with the new, but someone has to do it.

Getting Started

The Introduction to PSYC gives you an overview.

But you may want to just try using PSYC1. Help yourself to a good IRC or Jabber client software, and connect to a public server like psycyificvaxuzut3t6hcies3stfdtlzqftcnmbb5su3xv4zugplsfad.onion or psyced.org (IRC port 6667). See the help pages and manuals to get you started. Because PSYC will behave differently from your typical IRC or Jabber server, you do need a little information there.

Alternatively you can have a peek into PSYC1 by means of one of the webchats. If you're familiar with telnet, that isn't so bad either. You can also try some native PSYC1 clients, but they lack simplicity a bit. Take a look at the software list below for those.

Once you're seeing PSYC1 from a user's point of view and read about the features of our backbone server technology, psyced, you may want to try running your own server node. psyced however operates in the old federation mode, which isn't good enough for the challenges the world poses to communication privacy these days. If you're interested in complete decentralization, look into the distributed architecture of PSYC2.




In 2001, long before being finished, PSYC was indirectly conferred the German Grimme Online Award twice. First as the largest, most innovative building block of politik-digital, secondly also for implementing a high scalability webchat interview with the rock band R.E.M. as a part of MTVs Internet activities. Both were implemented by symlynX using PSYC technology prototypes. Check the 2001 Preisträger and see for yourself!


First read all pages. Then check out the specification in the making. Finally, a step by step guide on how to write a client.


libpsyc News

psyced News

  • To support the new protocol syntax psyclpc needs to be recompiled with libpsyc. We're in the process of making this easier to handle.

Current Issues

Technical Issues

Abstract and Meta Issues

Related Work


coyo whimpers
when i look at this server, i see google wave, facebook, and skype rolled into one, and implemented mostly on client side, with data streams all in-band. i nerdgasm constantly at the thought.

<coyo> What? I do! XD

psyc://ketmar.no-ip.org/~ketmar says
I actually installed psyced as a small and lean Jabber server, but then found out that native PSYC is much more fun. %-)

psyc://psyced.org/~antagonist says
I found you through Wikipedia. I like psyced.org because it has a lot of cool features and it's online 24/7... I didn't test them all, but I really like the "PsycZilla" client! It looks cool. And I like that PSYC and psyced are open source and the nice users on PSYC! :)

psyc://psyc.us/~20after4 says
I initially found psyced because I was looking for a jabber server and psyced was the first one that I was able to install successfully. Once I started learning about psyc I was very attracted to the psyc community. I continue to participate in this community because of the friendly and stimulating people who I have met and continue to meet in psyc://psyced.org/@welcome.

pEL says
Creo que este sistema es el futuro del chat y de la mensajeria. Yo lo que he estado probando y mirando me parece un software tremendamente potente.

psyc://ve.symlynx.com/~kuchn bröselt
wow. allein durch das benutzen eines hierarchischen methodenwörterbuchs like psyc does spart man mindestens 80% code und komplexität. überhaupt kann man das psyc prinzip getrost für jeglichen datenaustausch, auch den innerhalb von prozessen (events z.B.), benutzen, und sich dann sicher sein, den modularsten und offensten weg gegangen zu sein. jetzt bräucht man nurnoch eine globale namenshierarchie für die verschiedensten zwecke (pipe your packets, baby). und zum schluss noch einen psyc implementierenden kernel. :)

psyc://foxybanana.com/~shoraneth says
oh neat :) I need to learn german one of these days. I was talking about psyc and psyced on IRC yesterday, and I still think it went over people's heads. I'm certain I'm not an expert on it, but, it's interesting. It just surprises me how stubborn people can be when it comes to trying new things. well, I think I'm going to try and use psyc for a few little things I have, simply because it's easier than Jabber and makes more sense than IRC.

Theobald writes
I'm a member of the old 'Stern Chat'. That one I liked very much. But there are some years gone now. Then I followed your chat designs and was very pleased, though many people were not any more online, or present. ok. Many had given up chatting - but that's chat. So, what to say ... I am not the one having time to do work on system network - nor do I have the knowledge. But I do like your effort and work. That's why I ask you to keep me informed, please. Keep on your idea ... it's really worth it.

Terminar sagt
ich hatte ja erzählt daß ich für die webchat-lösung ein system suche daß man gut umbiegen kann und daß viel funktionalität anbietet. psyc ist da eigentlich die plattform. ich würde dafür auch was anderes nehmen, aber ich hab noch nichts sinnvolles gefunden (was aber nichts daran ändert daß ich psyc allgemein absolut geil finde und auch selbst nutzen werde)

Viaken says
My opinion? Basically it's that this is pretty interesting and I could see it taking off. I'm mainly curious about what you envision this progressing to. Obviously, a messaging program to beat all messaging programs. ;) But...what are the next steps? Finish 1.0?
<lynX> hard to tell.. we are instinct-driven. all attempts to make roadmaps have resulted in us feeling pressured by a roadmap
<Viaken> lol

This is a community that is getting a lot of good mileage out of pre-release software. If it works as well as it does now then how good will the release candidates be?

Captured Lines

cubex sagt: oh my god! this thing does everything
cubex sagt: seriously, yes
cubex sagt: now i'm expecting it to grind my beans and make me coffee
teto chees: Wow!
teto chees: Germany wins again.
teto gives this thing one and a half ears up.
uls says: well done. it looks nice, a good playground :-) keep up :-)
ketmar says: it's funny that psyced, which supports telnet, irc, xmpp (and psyc too %-) is faster and has smaller memory footprint than dedicated xmpp servers, which speak only xmpp %-)
indigo6 says: psyced is truly genius
ketmar says: and it even works... sometimes %-)
indigo6 says: it works well -- but it is a work in progress, with  huge amount of possibilty... it really could become the universal chat protocol
ketmar says: it SHOULD %-)
tetsuo asks: Can you change /quote to /quoth the raven ?
tetsuo asks: And then the screen goes dark and you see "Welcome, Edgar" in blood dripping letters?

Mehr Kommentare in deutsch.


  1. Check out Category:Solid for everything that's cooking today.
  2. Go to Category:Vapor to steal our best ideas before we code them.
  3. Look at Category:Liquid for everything inbetween.

... and we are always open for suggestions! after all, /dev/null is of infinite size... %-)

Stay in touch

To follow developments on PSYC2, subscribe to secushare announcement lists at http://secushare.org. There is no active development of the old federation PSYC1 technology, just maintenance.