Marlinspike’s goal isn’t unicorn riches, but unicorn ubiquity. For that, he wants to make encrypted messaging as easy — as beautiful, as fun, as expressive, as emoji-laden — as your default messaging app. His reason: if encryption is difficult, it self-selects for people willing to jump through those hoops. And bad guys are always willing to jump through the hoops. “ISIS or high-risk criminal activity will be willing to click two extra times,” he told me. “You and I are not.”
“What?!” I ask. “You are, aren’t you?”
“At this point — no,” he said. “I’m unwilling. I don’t use PGP. I don’t do any wing nut stuff. I just want to be a normal person. Unless you have Facebook and Gmail, you won’t understand what people’s expectations are.” Marlinspike thinks the reign of the crypto-nerds has lasted long enough: “There are some people who’ve built an identity around learning how to use this crazy stuff. And if the basis of your identity is you have master skills that are difficult to use, you’re not incentivized to help other people to do it.”
Are you using Signal yet?