Vela is a Windows open source P2P messenger with encryption, digital signatures and message storage. The program is a combination of instant chat with P2P email, delivery reports and added security.
During installation you will be prompted to create a password protected .vstore file where sent messages are kept, there is no central server holding data, the password and the files all reside in your hard drive and you are forced to use a passphrase with a minimum of ten characters, Vela IM calls this the Storehouse.
Authentication in between peers is achieved using Universal Peer Name, to communicate with somebody in Vela IM you will need to know their personal UPN ID, this is a good scheme that will not allow others to link a UPN with a real online identity like an email address does. It is also impossible to receive spam in Vela, unilateral messages are not accepted unless both parts hold their respective UPN first.
A “Letters” tab allows you to write long email like messages but without any attachments, that is perhaps one of the features people might miss, you can only use Vela IM for text, you can’t send photos or documents with the messenger. Digital signing is used to check when your contact receives the message and notifies you by flagging it as “Received” with the corresponding time stamp.
This program can be a good email replacement program if you want to bypass NSA email spying, however communications would be limited with those who are also using Vela IM and you would not be anonymous, the messenger encrypts communications but does not hide your computer IP.
Vela IM uses Peer Name Resolution Protocol (PNRP) to resolve a UPN nicks to a computer IP address, this is a Windows based service that accesses Microsoft servers, I would not trust Microsoft with anything regarding privacy and it could be exploited by the NSA to see who is communicating with who, even if they can’t decrypt the messages, metadata would still be there. You can set an alternative peer address going to the “Edit Account” window, and I think you should do this straight away after downloading Vela.
I liked that it is open source program, what I did not like is Vela using Microsoft seed servers for name resolution and that you can’t send attachments.