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In Conversation with Kyle Spearrin: The Genius Behind Bitwarden

Bitwarden is easily the most loved open-source password manager. Kyle Spearrin (Founder) tells us a bit more about the vision and goals.

interview with bitwarden's founder, kyle spearrin

Bitwarden is an open-source password manager 🔑

I have been using the premium plan for five years now. It has enabled me to securely log in to accounts and use my payment card info conveniently. I recall switching away from LastPass to Bitwarden in a heartbeat and never looking back!

Naturally, it is a special product for me, which I have closely observed to improve over the years ⌛

It was an absolute blast to hear that Bitwarden's team (and Gary) made arrangements for Kyle Spearrin to answer a couple of my questions 📜🙋

Read on to find out about it...

1. What made you start Bitwarden? When did it all begin?

password manager illustration

A: As a developer, I’ve always been interested in building applications and doing so securely and productively. For years, I used another password manager. When that company was acquired in 2015, I looked at what they had built, and the terms of the acquisition, and said to myself that I think I could improve upon this market space significantly.

Bitwarden launched in 2016. At the time, I knew reaching others would be important in order for the product to scale. Having used and contributed to open source software, and looking at the password manager market, there was a clear space for a tightly integrated, open-source solution across both individuals and business. That’s where it started.

2. Considering there were some solid alternatives like LastPass, Dashlane, did you expect Bitwarden to be a success?

open source bitwarden

A: I knew there was a market opportunity for an open source solution that would benefit both individuals and businesses. This is primarily because open source provides the fastest and easiest way to establish trust with customers. And as a solution in which customers store their most sensitive information, trust, and security comes first.

3. I believe Bitwarden gained attention as a trustworthy password manager because it was open source. Would you share some thoughts on that?

A: There is no question that an open-source solution enables trustworthiness. At the same time, people enjoy great products that help them solve problems.

So open source alone is not enough. There has to be a commitment to quality and an appreciation of building scalable software that gets included in the mix.

4. It is incredibly surprising to have an affordable pricing plan than the competition. Will that change as Bitwarden grows, like how LastPass changed their free tier plans? How do you plan to prevent that from happening?

bitwarden pricing plan

A: Bitwarden began with an objective to be the password manager for everyone, regardless of financial means. Bitwarden believes that every individual online has the right to keep themselves secure and the company remains committed to having a fully featured free version across unlimited logins and unlimited devices.

This business model for Bitwarden includes optional paid plans for individuals, as well as paid business plans, which contribute significantly to the company’s operations. Our CEO, Michael Crandell, detailed areas of Defining and sustaining value for Bitwarden users in a blog post that shares more on the business.

5. There have been some exciting feature additions to Bitwarden recently. Is there something coming up that you might want to give us a heads-up?

A: Bitwarden has expanded the product portfolio significantly since we began. Today, in addition to Bitwarden Password Manager, there is Bitwarden Secrets Manager for developers to handle machine secrets, Bitwarden for application and website builders to incorporate passkeys with just a few lines of code, and the recently launched independent Bitwarden Authenticator App on iOS and Android.

This year we’re moving to native mobile apps, and delivering more options for companies to easily deploy password management to all of their employees.

6. Tell us a little about yourself and your life goals for the future.

kyle spearrin

A: I still refer to myself as an engineer, whether that is software development or tinkering with home automation and projects around the house. The fun part is when others can benefit so broadly from your creations, so one goal is to continue to see the work we put into Bitwarden used by as many people globally as possible.

Of course, I also thoroughly enjoy time with my family and friends and spending time on active pursuits outdoors.

7. The open-source community loves Bitwarden. Do you have any message for them to follow the road of open-source solutions?

idea illustration

A: Open source is a phenomenal way to build software, and to share solutions with the world. At the same time, not everyone may welcome the increased scrutiny and standards that are required to uphold such a publicly visible development process. 

Users and fans will provide input and commentary on all aspects of your code. It is up to you to filter that input and be sure you are using the feedback to the best of your abilities, but also not let every comment impact you, especially adversely.

Overall, I’ve been thrilled with how the Bitwarden community has engaged with the product and its development. Bitwarden is certainly in a better place because of this input. That said, be prepared for all kinds of feedback and stick to your mission and compass to deliver an outstanding product.

🗨️ What do you think about Kyle's vision for Bitwarden? Are you a Bitwarden user? Who do you want us to interview next? Let us know in the comments below!

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