Keybase launches Teams, a free encrypted alternative to Slack

Keybase launches Teams, a free encrypted alternative to Slack

Keybase, a tool for creating a secure online identity and privately messaging others, has launched Teams, an end-to-end encrypted group chat app that closely resembles Slack.

Built by the folks behind OkCupid and SparkNotes, the service is currently in alpha, is completely free and promises to keep conversations hidden from prying eyes, even if your company’s servers are hacked.

That’s because messages and files shared through Teams are encrypted the moment they’re sent, and stay encrypted when they’re received.

Keybase Teams is currently free to use for the time being, though it told Fortune that it’ll eventually begin charging businesses at some point. That, combined with its security-first approach, could make it more appealing to some customers than rival apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Flock, Facebook’s Workplace, and Atlassian’s new offering, Stride.

Of course, it’s not going to be easy taking on those heavy hitters: Slack has more than 5 million users and just raised $250 million from Softbank, valuing the company at a whopping $5.1 billion. It goes without saying that Microsoft and Facebook have plenty of firepower to keep the battle going.

So, is Keybase Teams right for you? It’s still in the works, so it may not have all the features or polish of other apps that have been around for a bit – and you’ll need to run certain tasks, like managing team roles, from the command line.

Keybase says that Teams is designed to work well for companies large and small, as well as communities. Presently, a team can support up to 1,000 people – but that limitation will be lifted later on. The company is also working on an encrypted code repository so programmers can share their work as securely as they like.

To use Teams, you’ll need to grab Keybase’s app, which is available for Chrome, Firefox, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux and Windows. Grab the installers from this page to get started.

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