The move was announced by founder Felix Müller-Irion and CMO Bill Franklin on reddit, where they also explained that the service is not an official successor to Lavabit but they are great fans of the now-defunct service and its creator Ladar Levison.
They made sure to point out that the service is based in Germany, has no ties with the US, and is entirely self-funded.
"We do not know the exact locations of our servers. They are located in separate locations around Germany and we are aware of the general area. As such we do not have physical access to our servers," they shared.
"If we should become scrutinized by law enforcement we rely on a severe public outcry, since we are under jurisdiction of the German law and the best privacy laws in the world. If we should ever be forced by the BSI or the BND to give up all our data, rest assured that we do have something in place that will destroy our hard disks in a matter of minutes and turn them into little more than coasters."
The service will be free to use up to 250MB, but additional paid plans will be offered in the future.
The security of users' emails is maintained "with complete encryption, zero-knowledge privacy, and three-way authentication," but using the service will be easy, they say.
For those interested in the technology and tools they use, more details are provided in the "Info for N.E.R.D.S." section, in which they also invited security researchers to audit their code.