Designing Matrix: A Global Decentralised End-to-End Encrypted Communication Network

Wednesday, 11 October, 2023 - 09:0009:40

Matthew Hodgson,


Matrix is a open source project that publishes an open standard protocol and reference implementations for secure, decentralised real-time communication, stewarded by the non-profit Foundation. Initially launched in Sept 2014, there are now over 106M users on the network, spread over ~100K server instances, providing a secure open source alternative to Teams/Slack/WhatsApp/Discord within a global network. Users include the governments of France, Germany, UK, US, Sweden, Poland, Ukraine and many others, as well as major open source organisations including Mozilla, the Wikimedia Foundation, KDE, GNOME, Debian, etc.

In this talk, we'll explain the unique challenges of designing a byzantine-fault tolerant distributed system that operates without transactional finality, optimised for relatively low latency real-time communication. We'll also dig into the specific approaches used to scale and operate large-footprint individual instances, and give a preview to upcoming work around portable identity, multi-homed accounts and eventually Peer-to-Peer Matrix.

Matthew Hodgson,

Matthew Hodgson is Project Lead and co-Founder of Matrix, an open source project for secure decentralised communication. His day job is CEO/CTO at Element, the startup founded by the core Matrix team to provide services and solutions around Matrix and so fund the project. In previous lives he led VoIP and SRE teams, and has a degree in Physics & Computer Science from the University of Cambridge.

@conference {292145,
author = {Matthew Hodgson},
title = {Designing Matrix: A Global Decentralised {End-to-End} Encrypted Communication Network},
year = {2023},
address = {Dublin},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = oct

Presentation Video