Guest article by Jaime Escuder
Often, when I ask people to join me on Threema, they balk. “Why should I pay for Threema, when I can use other encrypted messaging apps for free?” they ask.
Actually, there are a lot of reasons why Threema is worth paying for.
For starters, Threema is simply more enjoyable to use than other messengers and offers everything one would expect from a modern chat app, even allowing for encrypted phone calls.
Also, as a Swiss company, Threema is protected by Switzerland’s stringent and user-friendly privacy laws, meaning that it’s not subject to the vulnerabilities of America’s weak privacy protections like U.S.-based messaging apps are.
In addition, unlike many other apps, Threema doesn’t require your phone number, which means that its users can communicate with each other completely anonymously.
While each of these is a good reason to use Threema, there is another crucial aspect that is often ignored. It may seem counterintuitive, but the fact that Threema is a paid app is one of its greatest strengths.
At Threema, it’s the users, not investors, who are in charge
Threema does not operate under a typical Silicon Valley type of financial model, which is based on catering to advertisers. Instead, Threema charges a fee because, naturally, it has to cover its development and payroll costs. But what this means is that Threema is actually owned by its users and not by investors or venture capitalists who have an agenda.
Yes, mining a user’s data or accepting outside funding can allow an app to be “free,” but the truth is that nothing is free. If you’re not paying for a service, you can expect that your data is being exploited in some way, as we saw with Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. Threema’s reliance upon its users for support means that its only incentive is to make the best encrypted messaging app possible.
When you use online products that don’t charge for their services, you’re giving your privacy away for free. When you pay for a service like Threema, you’re paying to protect it.