Telegram, a popular messaging app in the cryptocurrency field, surpassed 500 million monthly active users during the first week of January, according to Telegram CEO Pavel Durov.
In the last 72 hours, Durov said, the app has seen a massive increase in new users with an additional 25 million people signing up to use the platform. These new users come from all over the world, with the majority – 38% – coming from Asia.
About 27% come from Europe, 21% from Latin America and 8% from the Middle East and North Africa (Mena region). Around 200 million people used Telegram in 2018, which means that user growth has exceeded 150% over two years.
These changes are thought to have made users uncomfortable sharing more of their personal data with Facebook to leave Whatsapp and join privacy-centric competitors like Telegram or Signal.
Unlike other competing messaging apps, Telegram does not share personal data and offers encrypted chats.
Posting on his personal Telegram channel on January 12, Durov said:
People no longer want to exchange their privacy with free services. They no longer want to be held hostage by tech monopolies who seem to think they can get away with anything as long as their apps have a critical mass of users.
Telegram CEO added that “with half a billion active users and accelerating growth, Telegram has become the largest refuge for those seeking a communications platform committed to privacy and security.”
In 2020, Telegram reported new user sign-ups of 1.5 million every day, far from the current influx of people joining the platform. “We have had increases in downloads before through our 7-year history of protecting users’ privacy. But this time is different, ”Durov noted.
Until now, all services on Telegram have been free. However, Durov announced in December that some services may now be able to monetize. He said additional features will appear for “business teams and users with advanced needs” and these features will be paid for because they are “resource intensive”. Ordinary users will continue to use Telegram for free, he stressed.
Telegram tried to launch its own cryptocurrency called Gram through the TON blockchain platform, but was blocked by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. That left Pavel Durov, who had raised $ 1.7 billion from select investors for the project, saddled with a $ 1.2 billion debt and $ 18.5 million in penalties.
Now some investors in TON are preparing a lawsuit against Durov for trying to force the businessman “to sell part of Telegram or the entire company and pay off the investors because he spent money on Telegram,” according to a Forbes report. Durov allegedly used $ 500 million of the TON money to upgrade Telegram, something investors claim was not part of the original deal.
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Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Telegram,
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