Greg Cohn
Brendan Candon
Vlad Shmunis
Justin Shimoon


The 555 Exchange: Decentralized Private Encrypted Messaging Network

Who can participate?


Vision: cut out the middleman (the phone company).


What it provides (for us, the service providers):

  • Unlike regular phone numbers, they are free for us to provide.
  • Let’s face it: we pay a lot for phone numbers.
  • Let’s cut the phone company out completely and
  • Increase profit margins considerably.
  • Re-use code left and right: 555 numbers work like regular phone numbers for the most part.   Some parts of the app may remain unchanged, code wise.
  • Each company still competes with each other, but the collaboration will bring more users to all of our platforms. 
  • Long term potential is unlimited; cut the phone company out more and more over time.  Profits keep increasing the more people use our exchange.
  • 10 million free numbers on +1 555.
  • 1 billion+ free numbers on similar unclaimed exchanges.

What it provides (for the user):

  • People think 555 numbers are cool.  Free marketing; 555 numbers are prominently featured in many US films.
  • I’m already on 1st SERP for ‘555 area code’.
  • Initially completely free to use.
  • Works just like a regular phone number.
  • Only works with other 555 users – but across the entire platform.
  • Fully real-time with push notifications.
  • Optional secure chat with AES encryption (password or public key crypto).
  • Unlimited long-term feature support; messaging, video messaging, p2p payment, copy functionality of WhatsApp and other popular apps.
  • Free international texting.  Free everything.

Pitfalls/threats to success:

  • suffers from ‘the network effect’
    • solution: marketing
    • solution: SEO (already in play…)
    • our combined marketing efforts could probably fully dominate the 1st search results page for ‘555’ and similar searches, and probably a description of the service in the Wikipedia if it takes off
  • future number conflicts
    • Only happens if assigning numbers outside 555 exchange (10mm)
    • If this takes off, perhaps the phone company will skip any exchanges we stake a flag in, e.g. 556, 557, etc.
  • Voice calls harder to implement
    • VOIP

How it works

On servers:

  • each partner (optionally) runs their own 555 server.
  • each provider can make API calls to their own 555 server, or one a publicly hosted one (I’ll buy an appropriate domain like
  • servers communicate with each other, broadcasting messages as appropriate.
  • similar to how IRC servers communicate with each other.
  • JSON API over HTTPS.
  • Code to run a server is open source BUT you’d need authorization from the network to join the 555 exchange

The server software would consist of one Apache/PHP server (to handle API calls) and one node.js server (to handle real-time push events).

Long-term Vision

  • Over time, the phone company will become less relevant.
  • Over time, apps that communicate with each other will become more relevant.
  • We get to create our own ecosystem of private consumer communication.
  • Users are only becoming more concerned about privacy.

Major API calls (simplification of idea)

▶ Expand

Thank You

Thank you for your interest in the 555 exchange. Please contact me if you if any questions or thoughts. My phone number is listed below, as well as a chatbox in the lower right corner.