Proton is going non-profit

(Image credit: Proton)

Proton, the company behind one of the best password managers and best VPN products around, has announced that it will be going non-profit.

The Proton project has been famously open source across all of its solutions, including Proton VPN and Proton Mail.

This switch will continue to ensure Proton products are built in the interest of the community they serve by adopting the Swiss non-profit structure that blocks hostile takeovers and sets a legal precedent for the trustees to run the company in line with Proton’s original mission.

 Non-profit Proton

Interestingly, the basis for Proton’s non-profit structure relies on the beating heart of the business, Proton AG, to remain operating in a for-profit structure under the watchful eyes of the non-profit foundation, which will be the primary shareholder - protecting the business from hostile takeovers and pressure from investors.

In the letter announcing the new model, Proton founder Andy Yen highlighted that this structure would offer the best of both worlds, stating that “the for-profit corporation is not prevented from issuing stock options to attract and incentivize the best talent in tech. Nor would it even prevent the corporation from raising capital on public markets if additional resources are required to win the fight for the future of the internet.”

“However, the foundation’s control would always require the company to act in a way that does not jeopardize Proton’s original mission, and Proton’s financial success is directly committed to the public good. In this way, we seek to preserve not only Proton’s values, but also our culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and ambition, and our relentless competitive spirit,” Yen said.

The announcement comes on the 10 year anniversary since Proton started its journey with the crowdfunding of Proton Mail in 2014.

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Benedict Collins
Staff Writer (Security)

Benedict has been writing about security issues for close to 5 years, at first covering geopolitics and international relations while at the University of Buckingham. During this time he studied BA Politics with Journalism, for which he received a second-class honours (upper division). Benedict then continued his studies at a postgraduate level and achieved a distinction in MA Security, Intelligence and Diplomacy. Benedict transitioned his security interests towards cybersecurity upon joining TechRadar Pro as a Staff Writer, focussing on state-sponsored threat actors, malware, social engineering, and national security. Benedict is also an expert on B2B security products, including firewalls, antivirus, endpoint security, and password management.