Cryptography expert Moxie Marlinspike, who also runs Open Whisper Systems that develops the Signal protocol, said in a blog post that the Signal Foundation had been created by Brian Acton, the co-founder of WhatsApp which was bought by Facebook.
Acton left WhatsApp and Facebook in 2017 and Marlinspike said he had been "thinking about how to best focus his future time and energy on building nonprofit technology for public good".
He said that Signal had been started with the vision that private communication could be simple, at a time when "the industry consensus was largely that encryption and cryptography would remain unusable".
Marlinspike said while OWS always wanted to do more, over the lifetime of Signal, "here have only been an average of 2.3 full-time software developers, and the entire Signal team has never been more than seven people".
He said the foundation would start with an initial US$50 million in funding and that it would bring to fruition the vision of running Signal as a full non-profit.
Acton said: "The Signal Foundation’s mission is to develop open source privacy technology that protects free expression and enables secure global communication.
"Moxie and I share a belief that the best way to continue to ensure the universal availability of high-security and low-cost communications services like Signal is to do so through a foundation structure that is free of the inherent limitations of a for-profit company. Ultimately, our goal is to make the Signal Foundation financially self-sustaining."