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Are there any firm plans for what happens to the matrix.org matrix server in the future? I worry that all the friends and family that I've been convincing to register an account on matrix.org are going to one day be asked to migrate their account to somewhere else, and that feels like it could be a big bump in the road for the non-technical ones.

So, New Vector (the for-profit org that the foundation has just spun out of) operates the matrix.org homeserver on behalf of the community.

With that said, though, I don't think it is going anywhere any time soon. Portable accounts/identity is on the spec roadmap and is a personal passion of mine, so moving servers while keeping all of your identity will hopefully be possible in the not-too-distant future.

Yup, to echo this: the matrix.org homeserver isn’t going away anytime soon.

One of the problems we saw with other protocols when starting Matrix was that often it was hard to pick a good server to host your account, and the project’s “ground zero” server was often overloaded or unavailable. So we consciously made the decision to keep the matrix.org server running to help bootstrap Matrix - but the second we have decentralised accounts we will gently start encouraging users to migrate off to alternatives, assuming that good trusted public alternatives exist. We envisage this to be seamless though; users will just need to click something to opt into storing their account on their new server, and their account will then replicate across the servers where it is hosted. Over time, we might then ask people to stop using the matrix.org server if they empirically are using other servers too, and hopefully eventually get to the point where we have both closed signups on matrix.org and even turned it off. But we are categorically not going to leave any users high & dry.

It’s worth noting that running a massive server like matrix.org is a significant burden and distracts badly from actually building Matrix (especially when things go wrong), so we would love to spread the traffic out as soon as we can.

All this remains scifi for now though, although MSC1228 gives some hints on how it could evolve.

Thanks, that's very encouraging to hear and exactly what I would hope for.

That also sounds like it would solve my biggest issue with running my own server; if my home internet drops or I spill coffee on it I can't talk to anybody until I get it fixed. Having an alternative way of accessing my account would solve that entire worry.

Does MSC1228 speak about zero-trust initiatives?

Not really. MSC1228 is specifically about decoupling all the IDs in Matrix from DNS, switching to strictly key-based IDs - https://github.com/matrix-org/matrix-doc/issues/1228 is the MSC.

P2P Matrix could perhaps be layered on top of this, using some kind of overlay to route the traffic around such that you no longer have to trust any server. We have some ideas around this, but need to write up them up as an MSC. https://matrix.org/blog/2019/03/12/breaking-the-100-bps-barr... has some thoughts on what the transport could look like for this.

Where can I learn about your proposed path to decentralization of control, custody, costs and accountability given that it is, (as with any novel initiative), it is currently centralized on the dozen or so members who form the core of your foundation.

I used to be very enthusiastic about projects like this but AFAICT, decentralized governance ultimately amounts to a contradiction in terms.

We don’t have any plans for formal decentralised governance at this time; it’s hard enough making rapid progress with an open standard with ~12 people helping steer it without opening it up to the whole world to bikeshed.

Instead, we clearly define the terms under which new folks can join and leave the spec core team, code core team and Guardians in https://github.com/matrix-org/matrix-doc/blob/matthew/msc177... and more formally in https://matrix.org/media/2019-06-10%20-%20Matrix.org%20Found....

So this defines how the wider community can get involved at the top level; and in turn, anyone is welcome and encouraged to submit patches (for implementation) and proposals (for spec) - thus providing a relatively decentralised end result. Our emphasis is more on open governance than decentralised governance for the sake of it.

That said, if Aragon or some similar project came along and convinced us of a better governance model, we’d of course consider it :)

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