Secure messaging app Signal has recieved a boost of $50 million from WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, who left Facebook just last year.
In a move that will also see Acton become executive chairman of the Signal's new not-for-profit organisation, The Signal Foundation, the cash injection will enable the company to "support, accelerate, and broaden Signal's mission of making private communication accessible and ubiquitous".
Acton said his decision comes after much thinking about how to best focus his future time and energy on building nonprofit technology for public good.
Designed to keep people's instant messages from being spied on, Signal's technology, known as The Signal Protocol, is used in Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Skype, among many other messaging apps, including the standalone Signal Messenger.
However, since its inaugeration, Signal has never taken venture capital funding or sought external investment and, as a result, has suffered from a lack of resources.
That's until now, of course. It will use Acton's cash to focus on improving Signal Messenger and develop open-source privacy technology that protects "free expression and enables secure global communication". It may also one day roll out other privacy-oriented technologies, the foundation said.
"Starting with an initial $50 million in funding, we can now increase the size of our team, our capacity, and our ambitions," Signal Protocol's co-author Moxie Marlinspike said in a blog post.
"This means reduced uncertainty on the path to sustainability, and the strengthening of our long-term goals and values. Perhaps most significantly, the addition of Brian brings an incredibly talented engineer and visionary with decades of experience building successful products to our team."
Acton added: "This is just the beginning. There is a lot of work to be done to make our dream a reality and we will continually be asking our peers, our community, and ourselves if there are more effective ways to serve the public good.
"In the immediate future we are focused on adding to our talented-but-small team and improving Signal Messenger. Our long-term vision is for the Signal Foundation to provide multiple offerings that align with our core mission. That will come in time."
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