10-6-17 3:22 PM EDT | Email Article

After 20 years, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is officially shutting down AOL Instant Messenger. AIM was one of the first online messaging services to catch on in mainstream America. At its peak, AIM had more than 18 million simultaneous users, and the ability to communicate instantly made AIM a huge hit on Wall Street.

“AIM became how all Wall Street communicated,” former AIM engineer Barry Appelman said back in 2014.

In recent years, dozens of other messaging apps and services have popped up, giving traders a range of options. But any AIM holdouts left will now be forced to look for a new mode of instant online communication. Here are four platforms that could pick up the AIM slack.

1. Telegram is a cloud-based instant messaging service that allows users to send encrypted, self-destructing messages and files. Telegram also offers an open API and protocol that is absolutely free.

2. Ice Instant Messaging is already making a direct appeal to any AIM users to switch to its service via a pop-up notification on its website. ICE has also set up a helpful AIM FAQ page here letting AIM users know they can import their existing contacts and gain access to thousands of traders that communicate privately on its network.

3. Keybase is known for its security, touting itself as a free, encrypted alternative to professional messaging service Slack. Keybase was developed by the same people who created OkCupid and SparkNotes, and the company promises users that conversations will remain private even if corporate servers are hacked.

4. CME Pivot claims to be a single point of access for all of the different instant messaging networks users use, including AIM, Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business and Twitter. In addition, the network is secure, fast and customizable. 

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Image Credit: Flickr user Matt Grimm.

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