Signal has no data to sell, no advertisers to sell it to, and no shareholders to benefit from such a sale. We’re building a different kind of tech – where your data stays in your hands – but we’re also building a different kind of tech organization. One without investors, quarterly earnings calls, or share price considerations. While the model for conventional tech companies incentivizes them to build products for your data rather than for you, Signal’s nonprofit structure is designed so that the only way value can accrue is in the experience of using the app; the only place it can accrue is in the hands of the people who use it.
This also means that as the sole beneficiaries of Signal, it is up to the people using Signal to sustain it. This is a different model from the way most people experience tech on the internet – which is generally sustained by user data for the benefit of the largest shareholders – but we believe that changing this paradigm is necessary for a future where technology ultimately serves us all better.
In the latest Signal release, we’re making it easier to participate in this new model for a new kind of tech.
Join the party
You can join the community of people sustaining Signal by contributing a small amount each month, which unlocks a badge you can display on your profile. The badge helps to spread awareness of how Signal works, how it is sustained, and how people can participate.
Give Signal a Boost
In addition to sustaining Signal, you can now also give Signal a boost any time: if a new feature makes you smile, if Signal makes your day a little better, or if you just want to give Signal a virtual high five. It’s a quick one-time way to say thanks, and comes with its own boost badge.
Badge but verify
We’ve also designed this process to be privacy preserving, ensuring that your payment information isn’t associated with your Signal account. Leveraging the anonymous credential scheme that we introduced for Signal private groups, clients make payments and then associate a badge to their profile such that the server can authenticate the client is in the set of people who made a payment, but doesn’t know specifically which payment it corresponds to.
You can also feel safe knowing we’ve built these subscriptions so that they only renew if you use Signal over the course of the month. Should you stop using Signal, or uninstall the app, they will be automatically cancelled after the next cycle, which helps eliminate the “dark pattern” of subscriptions you’ve forgotten about. We’ll also be adding support for additional payment methods in the future.
Become a Signal sustainer; help change the way tech works so that it serves us all better.