- Comm CEO Ashoat Tevosyan wants to build a “fully sovereign, fully end-to-end encrypted and fully private” application
- ‘Web2’ app Discord remains one of the primary communication platforms for crypto enthusiasts
Web3 messaging app Comm has raised a $5 million seed round led by CoinFund, funds the startup hopes will set it up to compete with Discord.
The consumer privacy startup is working on scaling end-to-end (E2E) encryption that currently only works for chat apps such as Signal or Whatsapp, with a mind to eventually replace centralized backends.
Ashoat Tevosyan, founder and CEO of Comm told Blockworks that he wanted to make an app that was “fully sovereign, fully end-to-end encrypted and fully private.”
Other investors in the seed round include Electric Capital, Slow Ventures, LongHash VC, Shima Capital and Eniac Ventures.
Comm is being designed so that community members host their own backend servers and only users themselves can access their data. The keyserver software is open-sourced and built to be forked (copied and implemented by other projects).
Although encrypted messaging apps can help protect individual data, many of these apps have fallen into the hands of organized criminals and gangs.
To Tevosyan, regardless of whether or not Comm exists, criminals will always find a way to access online networks to continue criminal activity.
“We’re creating software that puts the user in charge and ultimately, that might mean that these situations, these communities can hypothetically use the software,” he said.
Despite this, he said he wants Comm to be a software that supports larger communities and is skeptical of the idea that a large-scale social platform would attract “seedy characters.”
Tevosyan added: “It is possible, but my own perspective on this moral question is that we don’t think we’re providing a service that is good for these people [criminals].”
There are currently four full-time employees at Comm and around 12 part-time contributors to the project. Tevosyan said he plans to continue growing his team in New York City after the raise, with a handful of employees working remotely.
Despite this, he said his ultimate vision for the company is not yet entirely clear. Users will be able to log in to Comm via their crypto wallets, which controls their overall identity in the app, although it’s not immediately known which blockchains will be supported.
“You have an easier time bootstrapping when you have kind of like a clear vision from the top. We’re not quite there yet but we do believe in long-term and potential values [of Comm],” he said.
“Our most radical viewpoint is that in the future, everybody will have a personal private server,” Tevosyan said. “We’re gonna have a world where users are going to ultimately make the decision to build on top of a platform that offers them the privacy that they need to get to the next step of human-computer evolution.”