I don't think Matrix is strictly an instant-messaging system at all. I think it is (or has potential to be) a great general-purpose network for real-time JSON replication.
Actually we did compare other self-hosted solutions before beginning Cactus Comments. The fact that it's built on an open, federated standard gives it a lot of extra features. Client compabability, resiliency to downtime, privacy, identity defragmentation, are among those. Centralized solutions have disadvantages.
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