One of Germany’s most popular texting apps, Threema, is entering the US market.
Founded in 2012, the app markets itself as one of the most secure ones out there thanks to end-to-end encryption and numerous security options.
For the time being Threema cannot seriously compete with leading messengers. For example, WhatsApp has 800 million monthly active users, while Threema has managed to round up 3,5 million so far. However, the Swiss app’s user base increased by 900% last year alone. And let’s not forget that Threema isn’t even free and costs $1,99.
Taking this into account, the company is clearly on its way to success, having been on top of Germany’s paid apps list for a good two years. Moreover, according to data from App Annie, Threema is downloaded more often than Minecraft and WeatherPro. Additionally, Threema is much more popular than its direct competitor, Wickr, which, according to Google Play Store stats, has somewhere between 100,000 to 500,000 downloads.
Safety of Threema
Encryption is the talk of the town nowadays. The high level of encryption stipulates the conversion of data or messages into a set of characters that cannot be read without the special “key”, no matter how many court orders the security agencies may have. Over the past year or two, after Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations, many large tech companies have started incorporating encryptions into their products. Snowden’s leaks drew a lot of attention to these products, hence increase in the number of users from hundreds to millions.
Threema CEO Martin Blatter said that the real transformation into a business happened 9 months later when Facebook purchased WhatsApp. This deal made Europeans think about the safety of their personal data. As a result, hundreds of thousands of concerned Europeans downloaded Threema. Their user base doubled overnight, which is pretty amazing.
No wonder that Germany gave Threema such a warm welcome. A wave of disappointment shook the nation as Snowden reported on the NSA spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Consequently, Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service unilaterally reduced the level of cooperation with their American counterparts.
Threema’s team consists of 12 staff members and servers that are located in Switzerland. According to Blatter, this country is the most user friendly one when it comes to user confidentiality. Encouraged by its homeland success, the company decided to develop new markets and turned its attention over to the United States, where confidentiality, user rights and anonymity are constantly debated. One of its first marketing moves was to reduce the app cost from $1,99 to $0,99. Keep in mind that the app was available to US residents, but the firm wasn’t purposefully after it.
ISIS militants suggest Threema
Users don’t need to provide a phone number or any form of identification, while the encryption keys are stored exclusively on user devices, making the messages impossible to read even for Threema administrators.
Besides glory, Germany’s most popular app has a rather dubious reputation: ISIS militants suggest it. According to evidence, collected by Internet users, ISIS recommends Threema because it helps avoid data leaking to the governments.
Blatter responded saying that journalists also use their app because they don’t want to give out their information sources, as well as by the LGBT community in Iran and Lebanon.
Essentially, this means that the app is successful. Security experts have been saying for a long time that various national minorities will use this secure app. A minority representative, Grugq said that if your secure communication platform isn’t used by terrorist or pedophiles – something isn’t right.