Upstart 'Trsst' Challenges Twitter With Kickstarter

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New effort aims to make tweeting private and untraceable.

Trsst makes tweeting private and secure

Unless everyone is using secure communications, it's like no one is using it, because the bad guys will know exactly where to look. If you can use Twitter, you can use Trsst.

Trsst today launched a Kickstarter campaign to change the future of tweeting.

“Trsst looks and feels just like Twitter but it's secured and anonymized and you keep your own encryption keys", explained Trsst founder Michael Powers, a veteran of the Washington DC startup community.

"We couldn't read your private stuff even if we wanted to, and neither can your government, or anyone else's government for that matter."

Trsst is based on the concept of public-key cryptography, which lets you do things like digitally "sign" your writings so you can prove who you are and that your messages weren't censored or modified. Private messages are encoded with military-grade encryption.

But the key to Trsst, Powers says, is that it's simple. "If you can use Twitter, you can use Trsst. Period."

"That's important because security has to be effortless or people won't use it," he continued. "And unless everyone is using secure communications, it's like no one is using secure communications, because the bad guys will know exactly where to look."

Recent revelations of government surveillance seem to motivate the Trsst team.

"All of the pieces are just now coming together," Powers explained. "The technology, the funding model, and public awareness. People get social communications, people get why they want privacy, but only now do they get that they don't have the privacy they thought they had."

Current events across the world also fuel the team's motivation. "Twitter was instrumental in the revolutions in Egypt and Iran and Libya", said Powers. "Journalists and human rights workers put their lives at risk in places where death squads are a fact of life. We can help all of them communicate more safely and securely."

Why Kickstarter? "Trsst is really just a new more secure way to blog than it is a business model," Powers answered. "The venture capital model doesn't compute for this kind of project because Trsst isn’t focused on $50 million in revenue. We're more upstart than startup: we're making the world a better place. If Kickstarter didn't exist, we'd have to invent that too."

The Trsst campaign will run for 30 days, and Trsst must meet its goal of $48,000 by September 13 or it will not receive any funding.

"One of the things I like about Kickstarter is that it has a way of building a following. It's hard for the three-guys-in-a-garage to get noticed. But on Kickstarter, your audience is funding you so you start with a loyal and motivated user base."

Kickstarter is a funding platform for projects ranging from films and music to design and technology. Since its launch on April 28, 2009, over $450 million has been pledged through Kickstarter by more than 3.2 million people, funding more than 34,000 creative projects.

Learn more about Trsst by visiting or visit its Kickstarter campaign page at to become a backer.

To schedule an interview or for more information, please contact info(at)trsst(dot)com.

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Michael Powers
Trsst Project
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