Online / 6 & 7 February 2021


Pinecones and Dendrites - P2P Matrix Progress

Introducing Pinecone: a new P2P overlay network for Matrix

Matrix ( is an open protocol for secure, decentralised communication - defining an end-to-end-encrypted real-time communication layer for the open Web suitable for instant messaging, VoIP, microblogging, forums and more. We introduced P2P Matrix at FOSDEM 2020, and throughout 2020 we've been working on improving P2P Matrix. This includes massively improving Dendrite, our next-generation Matrix homeserver implementation, implementing P2P Element for genuine mesh networks on iOS via AWDL, using Yggdrasil as a P2P overlay network - and more recently implementing Pinecone; a next-generation P2P overlay network inspired by Yggdrasil which supports source routing and virtual ring routing as well as typical greedy routing. In this talk we'll show off all the progress and give a VIP tour of Pinecone.

Matrix has traditionally been a decentralised rather than distributed protocol - with conversations replicated over all the servers whose users are participating in that conversation. However, Matrix clients connect to only one homeserver, which then becomes a central point of control over that account, even though the conversations themselves are decentralised. P2P Matrix changes everything by making the protocol completely distributed; compiling down the whole server stack to run within the client, and connecting the clients together over a P2P overlay network such as libp2p, Yggdrasil or our new Pinecone overlay. The approach is particularly nice because the client code doesn't need to change at all: it just connects to a local server rather than a remote one.

We'll demonstrate the work we've done on our Golang Matrix server implementation, Dendrite, in order to get it robust enough for P2P (which is a great stress test!), explain Pinecone, and give the latest updates on decentralised accounts, privacy preserving relay nodes, and how we'll turn Matrix into a hybrid P2P/client-server network in the future!


Neil Alexander