We shared back in December how we wanted to find a way for people and
organisations to support Matrix in a more impactful manner. We wanted it to also
enable the Foundation to be more autonomous and more powerful in growing the
ecosystem. Well the day has come: the Foundation is now able to formally accept
So what is a member of the Matrix.org Foundation? It's an organisation or
individual who financially supports the Foundation by paying a yearly membership
fee, and in return gets some influence in driving the direction of Matrix and
the Foundation's activities.
The key has been to create a balanced governance model, to make sure the
Foundation stays aligned with the Matrix manifesto.
For this we've created a Governing Board to
set the direction of the Foundation whilst the membership fees will fuel our
efforts to get us there.
So why become a member?
A common, durable platform
Matrix is an open protocol everyone can contribute to. However we believe that
to remain healthy, a protocol is better off having a single spec that needs to
be curated. The additions need to be debated, implemented in actual software,
and the rest of the specification needs to be adapted to the new changes. Such
curation and edition work take time and effort, but the benefits of it are
A curated protocol benefits individuals, digital rights activists, and
philanthropic investors who believe in the fundamental right to control and
privacy in online communication. As an open standard for real time
communications, Matrix brings the sovereignty, security and interoperability,
which are key to having full control over one's own communication. By
financially supporting the project, people who are aligned with our beliefs
allow us to keep fighting for our collective rights, be it by providing secure
software or persuading regulators to protect their citizens (such as our
DMA promotion work
or our fight against the Online Safety Bill).
A curated protocol benefits profit-making companies building communication
products and services. Decentralisation is a hard problem. End-to-end
encryption is a hard problem. Decentralised end-to-end encrypted communications
are a very hard problem. Matrix is doing the heavy lifting in these areas so
companies can focus on building what they do best: creating great user
experiences on top of it. By financially supporting the project, organisations
building on Matrix rest assured it keeps evolving, being patched and staying
secure. In short it ensures Matrix remains a competitive advantage over other
products, at a fraction of what it would cost to maintain an in-house solution.
A curated protocol benefits entire governments, and large parts of the public
sector, who have both adopted it widely. Public organisations can not only
benefit from a sovereign, secure and interoperable solution - they can also
ensure public money is spent for public good, not shareholder wealth. By joining
the Matrix Foundation, public sector entities contribute to the stability,
security and performance of Matrix. Investing into the project ensures that the
open standard that is supporting their healthcare, defence and public
administration continues to benefit from innovative open source software
Stay unbiased & vendor neutral
The Matrix manifesto hasn't changed. We still believe people should have full
control over their own communication, not be locked in silos, be able to
converse securely and privately, and that communication should be available to
everyone as a free and open, unencumbered, standard and global network.
The Foundation maintains the Spec, which formalises the behaviour expected from
the various software components of the Matrix ecosystem. We believe it's
important for both individuals using the protocol - and organisations building
products on top of it - to be part of the decision process when it comes to
shaping the evolution and features of Matrix. So we have designed membership
tiers catering for all budgets, and mapped the Governing Board representatives
evenly across the tiers.
The Spec Core Team appointed by the Foundation's Guardians is particularly
vigilant against features which only benefit particular players, or are designed
to somehow cripple or fragment the open protocol and ecosystem in favour of
competitive advantage. As such it is a guardian of the neutrality of the
protocol, making sure it will serve the general public's interests and be a
solid base to build robust products on for commercial organisations.
Delivering from the get go
The Matrix.org Foundation wants to take a more active stance in supporting the
protocol. The Foundation needs to respond appropriately to the Governing Board's
recommendations. We are hiring a Managing Director
who will be in charge of identifying and building programmes the Foundation can
deliver, obtaining funding for it, building a team and overseeing the delivery
with the approval and support of the Governing Board.
Such programmes could include an accreditation process, to give more visibility
and credibility to the organisations adopting Matrix seriously, organising more
Matrix events, to promote the standard and share experiences amongst the
community etc. Their mission will overall be to make the ecosystem thrive and
A Managing Director working full time will also allow us to increase the
Foundation's transparency by allowing it to report more often on such
programmes, independently from any vendor.
Going where we're expected to
The Governing Board is the new compass of the Foundation: it refines the vision
of the Foundation and steers the Managing Director and Spec Core Team in the
This gives the Governing Board a lot of power over the Foundation and Matrix,
so we've put in place several safeguards to ensure the Foundation remains
For example, the Guardians remain the ultimate authority, should the Governing
Board take decisions against the interest of Matrix, and the Governing Board
cannot appoint or remove members of the Spec Core Team.
To ensure that the Governing Board is representative from every stakeholder in
the ecosystem, we've included both representatives from every membership levels,
including individuals, but also representatives of those who are rooted in its
day to day operations (i.e. the MD and the Spec Core Team), and of the
Since the Governing Board sets the direction for the Foundation, continuity is
important. Therefore, members of the Governing Board are serving for two years,
with yearly elections renewing only half of the board at once. This makes room
for fresh ideas without losing context of the previous decisions.
Finally, this membership scheme is also meant to formalise and better distribute
the relations of power in the Matrix ecosystem, to make it more independent of
specific vendors. We believe this is a major next step to make Matrix thrive,
and welcome everyone to join us in our mission.
You can also check our Prospective Members presentation here
for more details.
In short, become a member today!
Send an email to [email protected] or browse