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Moxie Marlinspike, the founder of the encrypted Signal app, has stepped down as the CEO, saying he now feels very “comfortable replacing himself”.

Executive Chairman Brian Acton, who co-founded WhatsApp with Jan Koum before selling it to Facebook (now Meta) CEO Mark Zuckerberg for $19 billion, will serve as acting CEO until a replacement is found.

“Every day, I’m struck by how boundless Signal’s potential looks, and I want to bring in someone with fresh energy and commitment to make the most of that. I now feel very comfortable replacing myself as CEO based on the team we have,” Marlinspike said in a blog post late on Monday.

Amid the privacy concerns surrounding WhatsApp, Signal has grown in adoption and popularity around the world even faster.

“People increasingly find value and peace of mind in Signal (technology built for them instead of for their data), and are increasingly willing to sustain it,” said the founder.

Signal also gained immense popularity in India owing to its simplicity and focus on privacy in early 2021.

People switched to Signal in record numbers because companies who sell ads have a harder time focusing on the things that users actually want.

Founded in 2014, Signal has more than 40 million monthly active users.

Marlinspike said that he will continue to remain on the Signal board, “committed to helping manifest Signal’s mission from that role, and I will be transitioning out as CEO over the next month in order to focus on the candidate search”.

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