Syphon aims to be built on the foundations of privacy, branding, and user experience in an effort to pull others away from proprietary chat clients to the matrix protocol.
My name is Taylor and I'm creator of Syphon. This all started late 2019 when I saw a twitter thread regarding the protests in Hong Kong. At the time, the user was frustrated Signal didn't warn users that if you're using the default keyboard on an Android device, that all your message content is likely already been saved by a keylogger. I thought even if Signal could display some sort of warning, how long would it take for that to get implemented everywhere and approved? Are quick community driven changes like this a priority? A project needed to fill this void.
For several years, the idea that we do not have an agreed upon protocol for instant messaging kept me up at night. Email (SMTP, IMAP, POP3) has worked this way for a long time. The protocol has not stopped its centralization, email is widely adopted arguably because of its centralization. One of the reasons Signals creator Moxie Marlinspike discusses how for mass adoption centralization will only help. But if I want to host my own mail server, or switch to a more trustworthy email provider, I am not worried. There's a breadth of options. It's relatively speaking much harder to host your own signal server and chat with those using Signal. It's not a protocol in that way.
At the time, I saw countless posts on reddit where users stated they wanted to switch to Matrix but it was hard because the platform as a whole felt fragmented and/or Riots UX was bad. I thought how useful would it be for those attempting to resist censorship if they already had agreed upon a standard messaging protocol, that had allowed them to host a secure session with relatively little work. Matrix has created easily deployable docker containers for Synapse. If a client was focused on branding and user experience as much as Signal, I bet we could drive adoption.
That all to say, we need to decentralize the web, but also provide a means of freedom within that system. Matrix has the potential to be a standardized peer-to-peer chat protocol, and in a way already is, that will allow people to communicate and transfer their data at will.
Additionally, if the goal for Matrix is adoption to make instant messaging communication go the way of email, a network effect is required for this paradigm shift. Syphon makes the bet that the best way to attract new users is through strong branding and user experience. I hope that contributing and maintaining Syphon will help kick start this process and help those in need.
Since starting on this project, the Riot teams have started making strides at unifying their branding and user experience. If Riot rebrands well, and focused on all the same features that Syphon originally set out to impliement, Riot (the new one) will likely be the client you should use to access Matrix for the time being. This was out of my belief that Matrix was ready, it just didn't seem like Riot was at the time.
Syphon will always be a not for profit, community driven application.