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Perhaps the most surprising thing I learned about Signal when I spoke with Moxie Marlinspike, the encrypted chat service’s creator, last year at Disrupt, was that it was essentially running on a shoestring budget. An indispensable tool used by millions and feared by governments worldwide, barely getting by! But $50 million from WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton should help secure the app’s future, through the newly founded Signal Foundation nonprofit.
The arrangement was announced in a dual blog post by Marlinspike and Acton on the Signal blog. As the former writes:
Signal - VC - Funding - Investment - Profit
Signal has never taken VC funding or sought investment, because we felt that putting profit first would be incompatible with building a sustainable project that put users first. As a consequence, Signal has sometimes suffered from our lack of resources or capacity in the short term, but we’ve always felt those values would lead to the best possible experience in the long term.
This enforced austerity of having few developers (count them on one hand) and no real office (they work in a shared space) has finally resulted in substantial dividends — well, not dividends technically, but certainly just rewards.
Operating - Things - Simple - Signal - Years
Operating as a nonprofit keeps things simple for Signal, much as they have been for years: offer this service as a public good, cover the cost with donations and grants, and never feel any pressure to make any money or pay off investors. The $50M comes directly from...
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