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Open Whisper Systems

Developed by Open Whisper Systems (OWS), Signal is an easy to use mobile application that provides encrypted text messaging and voice and video calls relied on by millions of individuals around the globe.

The underlying Signal encryption protocol has been integrated into a variety of widely used messaging platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Google Allo. This has allowed well over a billion mobile users to benefit from end to end encryption. OTF’s most recent support enabled the OWS team to continue providing Signal at no cost around the globe and adapt their operations for a growing user base. OWS also implemented a numeric fingerprint format to improve localization, reduce the likelihood of a false comparison, and improve the user experience for users not reliant on the Latin alphabet.

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Current project status

Just an idea (Pre-alpha)
It exists! (Alpha/Beta)
It's basically done (Release)
People use it (Production)

Funding to date

2012 $0 12 months
2013 $455,000 18 months
2014 $900,000 12 months
2015 $900,000 12 months
2016 $700,000 5 months

Total Funding: $2,955,000

Addressed problems

  • Restrictive Internet filtering by technical methods (IP blocking, DNS filtering, TCP RST, DPI, etc.)
  • Repressive surveillance or monitoring of communication
  • Government practices that hold intermediaries (social networks or ISPs) liable for user content


  • Technology development


  • General public


  • Global

Technology attributes

  • Mobile application (clientside)
  • Sensitive data
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Web API/Mobile application (serverside)
  • Cryptography

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