Today it seems that Being on the Internet is synonymous with selling your data . Do you use Facebook? You sell your data . Do you use Google? You sell your data Use Whatsapp? You sell your data . Whatever you do, navigate where you browse, in one way or another, your data and your privacy are always exposed . It seems that the mining, buying and selling of data is the business of the 21st century, so the following may be asked: How do people and companies that offer a similar service but that ensure the privacy of the user earn money? It is what you will discover in this article, in which we will approach the monetization of Signal.
Signal, for those who do not know, is known as the “safest application in the world.” It was recommended by Edward Snowden , founder of Wikileaks, and at Andro4all we have already talked at length about it . Signal is an open source messaging app developed by Open Whisper System (OPS) , creator of the Signal protocol that, to understand us, is the same protocol that WhatsApp uses to encrypt their conversations. The main difference is that Facebook is not behind Signal, but WhatsApp.
Open Whisper System was founded in 2013 by Moxie Marlinspike . The organization is dedicated to the development and maintenance of the Signal protocol, implemented for the first time in TextSecure, progenitor of the current Signal . Its software, its technology and its protocol are open-source , which means that anyone can use them without having to pay a single cent.
Unlike Facebook, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and other well-known apps, Signal is not monetized . It can be downloaded for free on as many platforms as it is available, has a desktop version and does not have any type of micro-payments or advertisements. A WhatsApp well done, simply and simply . How do you earn money? How does OPS maintain the necessary infrastructure to keep the application running? What is your business model?
It was the founder himself who responded to this question a couple of years ago in the forum Hacker News . A user asked the following question: “What is the business model of TextSecure [now Signal]? Who pays for the server infrastructure? ” . Marlinspike replied the following :
That is a good question. TextSecure [Signal] is not a business, so we do not really have a business model in the traditional sense. Open Whisper Systems is a collective project composed of volunteers and a growing number of contributors, who sometimes receive donations and grants. Until now, we have been able to finance the server infrastructure without problems through this system.
Moxie himself recognizes that its income route is none other than donations from users and external organizations . PAHO received a generous donation from the Knight Foundation and the Shuttleworth Foundation , and has the sponsorship of the Freedom of the Press Foundation , which carries out crowdfunding projects to maintain the circulation of capital.
One of the most generous donations was the one he received from the Open Technology Foundation , a program of the American government (of which Tor was born), whose amount amounted to three million dollars. Even so, it is far from the 50 million injected by the co-founder of WhatsApp Recently.
Now, the issue of donations generates a secondary question: What happens if the donations run out? That’s where the micropayments come in. This is what the founder of OPS affirms:
I think it’s likely that we can continue that way indefinitely, but if it ever changes for any reason, we would consider charging small amounts for premium or high-cost features, such as sending extremely large files. In general, Open Whisper Systems is a project instead of a company, and the objective of the project is not the financial benefit. I know it’s something difficult to explain.
Today there are six employees , and the payment system is quite curious. It has an internally open procedure in which they decide how much money each of the workers receives. We do not know exactly how it works. Six people, of course, can not reach everything. Thus anyone can collaborate through donations , translating the application to other languages and solving possible failures and bugs detected through the official Signal GitHub.
This is how a Exciting, exciting and free project can become one of the greatest exponents in security worldwide. Is it better than WhatsApp? Yes. Are fewer people using it? Yes. Is it much safer and more reliable? Yes. Can you compete against the giants of the industry? Of the users, of people like you and like me, it depends.
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