Privacy is Priceless, but Signal is Expensive

Bits from the article

Storage: $1.3 million dollars per year.
Servers: $2.9 million dollars per year.
Registration Fees: $6 million dollars per year.
Total Bandwidth: $2.8 million dollars per year.
Additional Services: $700,000 dollars per year.

Current Infrastructure Costs (as of November 2023): Approximately $14 million dollars per year.

Article on Wired

“By being honest about these costs ourselves, we believe that helps provide a view of the engine of the tech industry, the surveillance business model, that is not always apparent to people,” Whittaker tells WIRED. Running a service like Signal—or WhatsApp or Gmail or Telegram—is, she says, “surprisingly expensive. You may not know that, and there’s a good reason you don’t know that, and it’s because it’s not something that companies who pay those expenses via surveillance want you to know.”


Because of this, I donate money to Signal.

Everyone who wants to and is able to do so, can donate too from the app or on the following webpage: Signal >> Donate to Signal Private Messenger

(Fun fact: when you donate using the app, you get a donation badge. You can choose whether or not you want this badge to be visible on your profile (and therefore visible for your contacts)


Same here. I donate regularly every month. Just a few dollars, but if everyone did the same …


I wonder how much of their revenue comes from MobileCoin transactions…

I set up a monthly donation there a few weeks ago after thinking about how much I’d hate if Signal went under. I think people tend to believe “what does a few dollars from me do? What difference does it make?” but as you say, if we all pitch in we can make it work.

I could see Signal possibly needing to go a subscription route or something to help keep the lights on. I’m happy to keep donating if that means keeping the app free, I think that’s one edge Signal has over Threema that helps in converting people, much easier to tell people to download a free app than a paid one lol.


Probably not that much. I don’t think anyone cares about their coin to begin with.

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I can’t imagine trying to convince anyone to use a paid messaging app based on my struggle to convert people to a free one.

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But this surprised me a lot

Monthly donations of $5 or more are rewarded with a badge for the user’s account. Those small donations, Signal says, now account for 25 percent of its operating costs, up from 18 percent last year, the first full year after Signal enabled in-app contributions.

According to the internet, Signal had 40mio active users in 2021. Now it’s gonna be more. Let’s be really optimistic and say that it has 50mio users. Which means if 10% of the people donate 10$ a month, Signal is covered.


Unfortunately so. I have been able to convert a grand total of one person, and that’s only because they use an android

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This scares me because if it does go under I’ll have to move to XMPP. No way anyone I talk to will move to XMPP if that happens.

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Maybe we can shame some billionaires into throwing enormous donations their way?

I’m thinking an Apple gets Microsoft money in the 1990s so Microsoft can appear less monopolistic kind of thing.

Perhaps threaten anti-trust investigations into WhatsApp and iMessage to “encourage” Meta and Apple to donate to an open source competitor to look “nice”?

Alternatively, I know many many government organizations use Signal as official unofficial means of communicating including many military units.

Maybe a grant from DoD not unlike the CIAs support of Tor? For those who don’t know the U.S. intelligence community supported Tor because it provided a secure/anonymous means for them to communicate with sources in hostile countries.