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IMO you can still add federation (and you should for freedom and security), but no need to expose it to the user. For example: set the default server to signal servers. For sake of sanity, you probably want to route all servers to the default signal server. But you could easily allow user@server. If you can figure out how to use phone numbers directly between servers, congratulations, cause it will not be easy. But I think people who want to run their own server will not find that much of an issue.

In terms of getting stuck in time, you could use though love, and require backwards compatibility for like a month but no-longer. But so long as you keep the phone-numbers @the signal servers, your server will be the reference, and any server not following will get the blame.

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