Tools for Digital Public Infrastructure: The Matrix Protocol

03.04.2024|Christian Kreutz

Today, I would like to introduce you to the Matrix project, a digital public infrastructure originated in the United Kingdom. This initiative offers an open protocol for secure and decentralized communication. While commonly used for chat purposes, it also supports video communication. In today's digital age, online security is crucial, especially considering that most emails are sent without encryption or protection pretty much like post cards. By providing an alternative to proprietary products like Microsoft Teams or Slack, Matrix strives to improve the overall security of online communication. In a presentation by Yan Minagawa, an open source contributor to the project, he mentioned that over 125 million people worldwide use the Matrix protocol through various applications.

As a public good, the project is supported by a vibrant community of open-source developers and operates as a non-profit foundation. The founders have also created a commercial version of the protocol called, and other popular providers such as have adopted Matrix as their platform. It has gained traction in the public sector as well, with government agencies like Luxembourg, France, and Germany (specifically the Bundeswehr) utilizing it for their communications needs.

It's exciting to witness the advancements also taking place in Germany, where other areas are progressing at a slower pace. In Germany's healthcare sector, their version of the Matrix protocol is implementing a locally developed app among 150,000 organizations. Soon, doctors will have the ability to communicate with each other through chat and video calls with their patients.

The only drawback is that the open source solution alone cannot function flawlessly. It appears that the stakeholders and government mentioned previously are not investing enough resources into the project. This is a common issue with open source software used for digital public infrastructures.