Why do I have to pay for Donation Key and Android App?

Quite a weird policy you have, especially for a FOSS software.
Not even Adobe sells OS-tied plans…!

Cryptomator’s Android app isn’t cheap either, so do you really expect users to pay a second time to get the dark mode on Windows? How many times are we supposed to pay for your free and open source software?

I had purchased the Android app with a charitable spirit despite the hefty price, because I really believed in the project and I liked a lot what the devs were doing, but I don’t like at all this greedy twist.

My thoughts:
You do not have to pay at all for the (full functional) desktop version and it is sad to see that people like you do not appreciate that at all.
You want the desktop Darkmode mode feature (which is only an optical feature with no additional function) and you are just upset that you don’t get it for free just because you paid for the mobile app.
That like seeing a free movie and being upset not to have the coke for free also.
You paid for the android app? Yes, and you got the features of it. And that for an acceptable onetime price. There’s no „charity“ with buying additional functions. You want the Darkmode feature for desktop? Well, if you support the desktop development you get it. „Open source“ means not „worthless“. Someone has put work in it.
By the way: adobe wants to have up to 90€ a month (!!!) for their tools. So not really a good comparison with a 10€ (once) mobile app with a free desktop version. .
Feel free to use other software. People say boxcrxptor has similar features. If you pay 3€ a month. And do not value open source code for desktop.



English is a very simple language, but certain things just can’t be misunderstood. A ‘donation in exchange of a feature’ is not a donation: it’s a price.

Many companies get criticized so much because of in-app purchases, why shouldn’t Skymatic Gmbh deserve the same criticism for a very similar policy? I’m not contesting the price at all, as your silly comment on Adobe tried to stress, but the policy itself.

I am fine with funding the project, I am more than happy to pay a fee for premium features, but to pay a fee for every single platform is tad too much.

I will pretend not to have read your invitations to move on other products, as I am a paying customer and I have every right to express my views on the product that I have purchased and on its makers. Skymatic Gmbh are strong enough to take responsibility for their greedy and unpopular choices, they don’t need the legal aid and the moral support of Michael from the forum.

CC @tobihagemann

Actually it was you that raised that.

You don’t have to, as I already mentioned.

Im claiming the same right to express my opinion as you do. That’s why I pointed out it’s my opinion at the beginning of my post.


Yes, @Michael. I must pay for that Windows feature.

Dark mode in 2020 is like the exit button in system windows. I use it in every software and on every OS. It’s a basic feature in any software.

Can I live without the exit button? Sort of. Am I right to be pissed that I have to pay other money to the same company that I aided financially with my own money a few months before in order to get a basic feature? Absolutely.

If I had become a Cryptomator user today, and the software was presented as freemium and the purchases as OS-tied, I would have understood and my decision would have been based on the currently available info.

But when I adopted Cryptomator (years ago) the Windows client was entirely pay-what-you-want and the Android app was the only premium feature to buy.

I’m sorry but I won’t play ball with these savage business models. If today these people at Cryptomator make unilateral changes and screw old paying customers who helped them to go on, what about tomorrow? They can’t be trusted, simple as that.

No. It is a cosmetic function that does not facilitate the execution of any basic action such as “exiting” the program.

What basic function of Cryptomator are you unable to use in Windows? What basic function prior to version 1.5.0 have you stopped being able to use because of non-payment?

By the way, you’re the one who has made a comparison with Adobe (…) but it’s your opinion, respect the opinion of others.


Please stopp ranting and raving here. Arguing by affronting others is nothing that (at least) I will accept and nothing that leads to a positive direction.

If you are not fine with the model you are free to leave. If you can contribute in a good manner you will be welcomed to do so.

I don’t know who you are and I honestly don’t care about the things that you accept. Like I said: I am a paying customer - not a simple donor - so it is completely out of question that I switch to other solutions just to please your bottom-kissing spirit.

The people at Cryptomator have to deal with the problem that I am presenting in a professional way or face the negative publicity that they are currently deserving.

Developers need to get paid. It can’t be all FOSS.

I pay often for FOSS software. I am not a Cryptomator user, but if they make it stable and reliable I will use as my main encryption software and at that point pay.

Does anyone here speak English? I PAID, I PAID, I PAID…!!!

I’m more than happy to pay, as long as I don’t get mugged. If the way to monetize get change, it is a disgrace to screw the old customers. Old customers shouldn’t pay a penny more when these changes happen, not only because they joined the project basing their decision on a precise set of information, but because it is especially thanks to them that the project reached the current state.

Without early adopters - who report bugs and advertise the product - and without funding from people like me, the devs would be using Cryptomator for themselves.

It is now clear that Cryptomator is not FOSS in the Stallman sense of the word, but rather Freemium Open Source Software.

Dear gibbs,

for your pleasure I try to do this in my best English and my best British behavior

I don’t think you’re reacting (or behaving) appropriate accounting to the matter of your complaints.
The facts: You paid for an android app no more no less - now you’re complaining about getting a fully functional desktop app for the OS of your choice without a fee - the people you getting it from would appreciate a donation but don’t ask for it! Now they decided to honor their donators with an extra - the dark mode - as an extra, not a promised basic function …

And you? Crying out about a rip-off, a fraud - about the dark side won’t give you the dark mode for free

So from my point of view the dark mode is not a feature you don’t get because the company is an evil capitalist monster, you just don’t get it because its a gift for donators - like the Christmas Card you get from the trust you donated to or the shirt or decal you got for supporting you local charity … so please stop complaining and be happy to get a fully functional, open source and easy to use desktop app in addition to your Android app for free

sorry for any inconvenience my words may cause

@all: Stay healthy, stay alert, save the NHS or whatever health system it is wherever you are

your sincerely elastic


Exactly my thought. Even I was a bit annoyed at first - but then I decided that I would save up for a donation key when I want the dark mode.

Considering that you’re getting the same functionality, if they ask you an additional one-time fee for dark mode, it isn’t a big deal for a cosmetic feature.

Sometimes we get frustrated for things we seriously want and that’s alright. You can save up and get it later. :slight_smile:

I can’t stand and I don’t trust people or companies who change the way they monetize all the time, no matter whether their product is proprietary or open source. It’s a matter of trust: I don’t want to be blackmailed into an ecosystem.

Some of you keep talking about ‘a gift in exchange of a donation’. I don’t know who brainwashed you into this peculiar view of economics, but for me it’s plain to see that Cryptomator is literally selling the dark mode, a very basic and much requested usability feature.

On top of that, my willingness to pay a hefty price for the Android app was a sign of belief and encouragement far bigger than a $0.01 donation. The fact that I funded the company with a fixed price at an earlier stage of development / adoption proves that I do deserve gratitude more than a John Smith who chooses to donate a couple of cents today: John Smith knows that he gets the dark mode in exchange, instead I could only hope to get it one day into the then 100% free Windows client.

Thank you all for your input on this matter! We understand that finance is quite a sensitive topic and there is much confusion on what FOSS actually means.

To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer”.


About six years ago, when Sebastian started this project and I joined a year later, we wanted to make a great product that has a laser focus on a client-side encryption software for cloud storage services that can be used across all platforms and is easy-to-use. To be quite honest, it was “just another” project back then. You can still read about the initial motivation here: https://sebastianstenzel.de/blog/2014/02/02/open-cloud-encryptor.html

It was clear from the beginning that we wanted to achieve two things:

  1. The desktop version should be completely open-source.
  2. The encryption scheme has to be public and well-documented.

Of course, we also had to think about how to finance this project. Ideally, we wanted to work full-time on Cryptomator without being distracted by other work that had to be done to pay our rent. That’s how we came to this monetization strategy:

  1. Present the desktop version as a “pay what you want” app on our website.
  2. Make the iOS app open-core and sell it for a one-time fee on the App Store.

Basically, the donations and sales from our iOS app were our main and only income back then. It was a very high financial risk for us to also make the iOS app completely open-source because we didn’t know what the impact would’ve been in the App Store ecosystem. Our team grew and we had to be able to pay salaries and couldn’t afford the risk.

Years later, things have evolved. We were able to grow our team to work on and publish an Android app, to modularize our software components into open-source libraries, and to found a company that has the main focus to maintain and improve Cryptomator. The harsh reality is that we can’t do all that just by giving everything away for free and we now also felt the growing responsibility to make sure that Cryptomator runs reliable across many systems. And unfortunately it’s not enough to just rely on voluntary donations, even though these have been and still are crucial. We also felt that the old website made a wrong impression that you had to pay for the desktop version, even though you could’ve just entered “0”.

We have decided to enable the download on the website first and ask then for donations. That’s why we were forced to be more creative about our monetization strategy. We removed the “pay what you want” buttons from the front page and added a “donation” tab in the Cryptomator settings. I’d like to emphasize that we will not limit any functional features and the software will always remain fully usable free of charge. Yes, technically we’re selling the dark mode but we didn’t take dark mode away from an existing feature set, it was completely absent before the introduction of the donation key. Past donors were also eligible to request a donation key without paying again. We wanted to be very fair about that.

We haven’t changed the monetization strategy of the mobile apps. They are still available for a one-time fee and users weren’t forced to pay again even though they have used the app with free updates for many years. There is nothing much that we can do about transferring licenses across different ecosystems. Google Play and the App Store are two different platforms. And the desktop version is also on a completely different platform with a different license. I don’t understand why this is being seen as greedy.

We are very grateful for all the support over the years, not just in regards to donations but also for all the feedback from the community and contributions in many ways like code, translations, discussions, and extensive tests. Of course, we are still growing, figuring things out, and will make changes along the way but we are true to our nature that we don’t want to restrict core features behind arbitrary paywalls. In an ideal world, everything is free of charge and open-source, maybe we’ll get closer to that someday but we have to face the challenges of being a company as well.


Projects regarding the archiving of personal data require long-term stability for inherent reasons. The user who discovers a new project of this nature will ask himself two questions: do I believe in this project? Will it last long enough for me to trust it with my data, to invest my time in learning how to use it and to actually execute the workflows that it requires to work properly?

Because of this, the legal/financial matters of archiving-related products are like the Ten Commandments: once they are sorted out and written down they can’t be changed or expanded.

You clearly have a lot of confusion about FOSS software, because you somehow believe that it is enough to open your code to be compliant. Well, let me tell you what libre software is also about.

Yesterday you were selling just the Andoird app at a fixed price, and I agreed to pay it. Today you offer the dark mode as a ‘gift’ in exchange of a ‘donation’. Judging by the chunk of company history that I have witnessed and that you have just confirmed - tomorrow you will come up with another idea to monetize, and you will likely choose another basic feature to go with it.
Imagine that today I agree to donate because I need the dark mode (I really do), and that tomorrow I will find out that this other useful feature of yours requires yet another payment: at that point I will realize that I have renounced to my freedom, because all the past investments that I have made to support your product now implicitly force me to stick with it.
That’s where you betray the libre philosophy, my dear Tobi! You surely write good code and you keep it open, but your company doesn’t give a damn about users rights in this long-term relationship with them, and this is ethically evil.
Cryptomator is now a freemium open source software, but never a Free and Open Source Software in the sense of Stallman’s philosophy.

Your long and contradictory reply suggests a thinly concealed unwillingness to change idea on the issue we debated upon, and it looks to me that you have taken a long-awaited chance to show the door to some of the people who once believed in you.
Well, I accept your invitation to get back in control of my basic rights and my data, so I salute you and I promise that I won’t look back. We have enough basic-plus-pro-enterprise horrorshows in this world. I hope that you will make good use of the money that I gave you.

So long!

I’m very grateful, that Cryptomator is around. I appreciate, that I don’t have to pay every month. So for me the new update and the possibility of a “donation key” was a welcome reminder, that I can’t expect further development of this great software without “donating” every once in a while - whatever you want to call that.


I think one cannot say “no development”. Maybe it will be slower, but since Cryptomator is open source there is always the possiblilty that other people can fork the project to push the development again.

There is the well-known proverb “Money makes the world go round”. In the context of open source this is not entirely true, it should be worded “Money makes the world go round faster.” :smile:

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here are my 5 cents…
Beside of definitions of “open source” etc.
What really counts for me is the value of the product and the possibility to use it on multiple platforms. I am a long time user and and I dont remember how much I paid some years ago. But I am sure it was a small amount in relation to the value it has for me especially for the long using.
Now this feature is a reminder to honor the team and the product. Therefore I was happy to donate and show my gratitude.
The “open source” thing in my oppinion is not about the 0 dollar payment but to show there are not any hidden secrets and in my eyes this is an additional value which should certainly not reduce the payment.
Best regards, Thomas


I was happy to pay a small contribution for the dark mode even though I don’t even use it. It reminded me that I had never donated to you for your excellent product, as far as I can remember. I try to support open source software with the walk, not just the talk.

I recently started using cyberduck/mountainduck which has cryptomator built-in which make the tool even more useful to me since I can create vaults in the cloud that don’t even take space on my hard disk. Thanks and keep up the good work!


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