At SXSW2015, I attended the very entertaining Knight Foundation event and was delighted to meet Nico Sell, a serial entrepreneur who helps organize and run the seminal hackers’ convention DEF-CON (which has been around for 22 years). Nico is also the co-founder and CEO of Wickr, an encrypted messaging system that says it is “security done right.” Wickr proclaims to be the next generation of secret and secure messaging (after Secret, Confide and Snapchat), providing a military-grade encryption. This is a peer-to-peer encryption system where the Wickr servers do not have the keys to decrypt your messages. As Nico wrote to me,
[Wickr’s] mission is to be the most trusted global communication platform in the world.”
Wickr writes on its site, “Encryption Makes the World Better.” As reported by Engadget, Nico said, “[o]ur main mission is to create the private web … I think Facebook has done a good job of creating the public web, but that’s only one half of it.” Wickr’s board, investors and advisors make up a formidable who’s who of the internet security world, including the respected Cory Doctorow and Jim Breyer.
Wickr – the “really” secret messaging app
The Wickr app, available on iOS and Android as well for the desktop, was launched in 2012 and has taken a solid foothold, despite a relatively crowded market and some naysayers who refute Wickr’s security. According to Trak.in, there are some 5 million users of Wickr. Espousing transparency, the Wickr site goes to great lengths to explain its system. As reported in this Network World Jan 2014 article, Wickr offered a $100,000 award for anyone able to find a serious vulnerability in its app. In a world where privacy is a new form of currency, there is reason to believe that a truly secure and tight messaging system will be valuable to people.