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Kim Dotcom unveils encrypted Skype-rival MegaChat

Kim Dotcom has launched a new encrypted video calling service, MegaChat, to take on Skype

Megaphone with social network logos

A new encrypted video calling service, MegaChat, has been launched by Kim Dotcom to overthrow Microsoft-owned Skype from its perch.

MegaChat is designed to offer more security to users' private conversations, and has been developed by the "Conspiracy Team" at Mega to encrypt communications through the service, reports RT. The service is encrypted from end-to-end, unlike rival services, which will add extra assurance to users.

It currently offers audio and video calling, but the program totted up around half a million calls within hours of the announcement via Dotcom's Twitter account on Thursday. He also predicted that the service could boost Mega's registered user count from 15 million to over 100 million by the end of 2015.

The German entrepreneur announced a messaging and video conference call service would be added soon.

It follows worrying reports from Edward Snowden that the NSA had been working with Skype to monitor certain conversations made via the service. This would not be possible with a MegaChat level of encryption.

Some of the former leadership team at Skype, including the co-founder Janus Friis, have launched a new messaging app, Wire, in December in the hopes of going up against services such as iMessage, WhatsApp and Viber.

Co-founder and CEO of Wire, Jonathan Christensen, said: "We asked ourselves how modern communications could look and work. How could we take full advantage of the latest devices and advances in cloud computing to deliver something that is really simple, very useful and truly beautiful?"

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