Element One - all of Matrix, WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram in one place

October 26, 2021

We’re incredibly excited to launch Element One!

It’s a complete messaging package - the Element app with high-performance hosting, the entire Matrix universe and bridging to WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram. All for just $5 per month.

So if you’re tired of jumping between messaging apps, Element One is for you!

You can be in your Element while chatting on Matrix, and when messaging friends who use WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram. And it doesn't matter how many of your friends are in those traditional siloed apps because the bundled bridging is unlimited!

(There’s a fair usage clause, but it’s generous; it’s just there to guard against mass automated routing).

This is The One...

Element believes that messaging apps should be able to interoperate together, which is why it’s built on Matrix - the open standard for secure, decentralised communication.

It’s only a matter of time until traditional messaging apps adopt Matrix. In the meantime, Element uses bridges to span the walled gardens of WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram.

But until now, Element users either had to manage their own open source bridges (fine, but requires technical literacy and is a bit time consuming) or had to use services designed for companies (a bit ££ for personal use).

Element One is a huge step change. It’s a very affordable, unlimited usage way for people to have all of Matrix, WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram in one place - that’s a combined three billion users!

A fully managed consumer experience

Element One is the quickest and easiest way to get unlimited bridging to WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram.

Just sign up from the Element website. You can even migrate your existing Element account (without message history in some chats, depending upon room settings), to keep your room list and display name. Connecting your Element One account to your WhatsApp, Signal and/or Telegram accounts is just a few clicks and a quick scan of an on-screen QR code.

Bridges support conversations, invites, images and attachments. As yet, they don’t support voice or video calls between the platforms (although voice and video attachments are supported).

Everyone using Element One gets an account on our one.ems.host homeserver. It's hosted by Element Matrix Services; constantly maintained to the highest standard and best practices by the experts who created Matrix - giving an infinitely better experience than the typical free-for-all of public homeservers.

Caveat emptor

Of course, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the bridge. Seasoned Element users need to know that the downside of bridging into old-fashioned messaging apps is that conversations with friends in WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram will still be captured by those centralised apps and subject to those providers’ T&Cs - and that they will still need an account on these platforms to relay their messages.

It’s also worth noting that end-to-end encryption is necessarily broken as messages to (and from) WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram pass across the bridge(s). The bridge(s) operates in Element’s trusted EMS environment, with no content scanning or datamining, but currently bridged conversations are not stored end-to-end encrypted in Matrix (they will be in the future).

Element to Element (and to any other Matrix app supporting end-to-end encryption) conversations are, of course, still end-to-end encrypted by default and also support voice and video calls.

Element One retains your independence

Although Element One is hosted by us (Element Matrix Services), users still retain control of their own data and conversations. Should an Element One user want to move their account and conversation history to a different host, that’s easy to do using a Matrix account migration tool (obviously the actual bridging services will stop when the user leaves Element One).

What does the future hold?

We’re absolutely delighted to offer a quick and easy way for people to stay in Element while they talk to friends who use WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram.

We’ll be listening carefully to all feedback to see how to develop Element One in the future. It could be that people simply want more bridges added, or perhaps end-to-end encryption for existing bridges might be deemed more important. Or something else entirely! Either way, we’re all ears!

Element One is the classic ‘a cup of coffee a month’ price, so give it a whirl and let us know what you think.


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