Telegram is a free, secure, cloud-based messaging platform. It is one of the major global rivals to Facebook’s Whatsapp Messenger. It is available on all major platforms such as Windows, Linux, Android, macOS, and IOS.
It is an open secret that Telegram is the favorite messaging platform of ISIS and other terrorist groups, as well as some African heads of state. Thanks to its ultra-secure encrypted chats feature, anybody can send encrypted personal messages away from the prying eyes of hackers and security agencies.
In 2020, Telegram reached new heights of popularity after recent data showed that it had surpassed the one billion users mark. While the data is still unofficial and tentative, it reflects massive growth for the platform that had only 200 million users in early 2018.
Who Owns Telegram in 2021
Telegram is the brainchild of Russian libertarian Pavel Durov and his brother Nikolai Durov. They launched it on 14th August 2013, although they developed the concept earlier than that.
The Durov brothers also created Vkontakte, Russia’s most popular social messaging network. Back home, Pavel Durov is hailed as the Zuckerberg of Russia. After losing his control on VK, Pavel embarked on a secret project as early as 2009 and 2010 with a few loyal employees.
When he escaped from Russia in fear of his freedom and safety in 2013, Pavel went to New York, where his secret project was finalized and launched in 2013 as Telegram.
For both Telegram and VK, Pavel provided financing and infrastructure through his Digital Fortress fund with American businessman Axel Neff. His brother Nikolai took care of the technical aspects, such as coding.
About Telegram’s Founders Pavel and Nikolai Durov
Both Pavel and Nikolai Durov are well-known libertarians. They believe in political, social, and individual freedom, and it was on these pillars that Telegram is built.
They initially designed the app to have open-source client-side code to maximize security through independent verifications. Server-side code is, however, proprietary and maintained by dedicated Telegram experts.
It is also interesting to note that Telegram uses distributed servers located in different political regions to ensure autonomy and freedom.
This goes to show how far the founders are willing to go to make sure that the average user remains free from big brother surveillance and control.
Back in 2013, the Durov brothers and some loyal VK employees left Russia for good after the Kremlin started making inroads into the app. The Kremlin did that through investors under Mail.Ru, which is controlled.
Pavel was also accused of running over a police officer while driving a white Mercedes and was ordered to appear in court. Security personnel visited him at his home, and raided his offices a few days later only to find that he had flown.
After selling a 12% stake in VK for $300 million, he moved to New York to establish Telegram. In 2017, he established the company headquarters in Dubai for tax reasons.
Some other facts about the Durov brothers:
- Pavel Durov was born on 10th October 1984 in Leningrad.
- He founded Vkontakte at 22, straight of St Petersburg’s State University.
- He is single, has two kids, and a dog with whom he loves to travel the world.
- He is billionaire #838 on Forbes list in 2020, after collecting over $1.7 billion for Telegram’s TON blockchain project in 2018.
- Pavel Durov’s net worth in 2020 is $3.4 billion.
- Nikolai Durov is an International Mathematical Olympiad gold and silver medallist for the years 1996, 1997, and 1998.
- Pavel reportedly used up to 1 million dollars of his own money for Telegram’s upkeep until 2017, when the Telegram/TON project was funded by its first ICO (Initial Coin Offering).
- The app uses a paper plane logo.
- In 2012, Pavel Durov and his team threw paper planes made of $50 (5000 rubles) banknotes. In total, they threw over $1000 to the crowd below.
About Telegram and its Features
Telegram is secure, free, and thus not intended for any profit-making. But how does it work?
To the average user, Telegram might seem just like another run-of-the-mill messaging app. Some people even alleged that it is based on Facebook’s Messenger.
The app is available from Google Playstore, Apple Store, as well as Telegram’s official website. Installing it is easy and fast. All you need to do is download the application into your device.
Telegram needs a working phone number for verification purposes. Once you set it up as a new or existing user, it needs to call your phone or send a code via SMS. Once the code is verified, you can start using it.
To understand more about Telegram, you need to learn more about its features.
- Channels and Super Channels – Telegram has channels that allow you to broadcast to huge audiences. Currently, there is no limit to the number of users as opposed to Whatsapp’s 256. There are channels of over 100,000 users, and they allow embedded messages, silent messages, tagging, signatures, and more.
- Encrypted chats – Proprietary end-to-end encryption is used to send private messages that cannot be forwarded or copied.
- Self-destruct timers – For those who love screenshots, Telegram allows you to send messages with a timer between one second and one week, after which it self-destructs.
- Lock feature – Telegram has an inbuilt security lock feature when you can set a local pin. It only applies to the device you’re using with the PIN.
- Ability to use over multiple devices – You can have Telegram on your Android phone, iPhone, desktop PC, and laptop all at the same time. You can terminate active sessions remotely when needed.
- Telegram bots – These are special channels with interactive third-party applications that you can use to auto-reply, send messages or media, among many other things.
- Telegram media – Telegram allows you to share and receive any file type without regard to size and type. This feature has even resulted in channels that share movies, music, software, and so much more.
- Personal cloud storage – You can open a chat window with yourself to save all your favorite media and chats. You can access it anywhere in the world, and it’s free.
- Create your own GIF – Upload a video, trim it, and it auto replays to give you your very own GIF.
What Next for Telegram
Telegram is very different from other social media platforms because it is founded on the ethos of freedom and security. So far, it has received massive support from users all over the world.
Pavel Durov is not done with Telegram and has even bigger projects in the pot. The biggest and best of this is the Telegram Open Network or TON.
Telegram Open Network
TON is a blockchain-based open network based on Telegram. Facebook also launched a similar project called Libra. If you don’t know about blockchain technology, it is best to familiarize yourself with it here.
Both TON and Libra seek to work out the kinks involved in the blockchain infrastructure, such as user-friendliness and faster processing.
Blockchain is a truly promising concept. It is capable of revolutionizing everything from financial systems to data storage, file sharing, and communication.
The TON project is at the forefront of this endeavor. Pavel and his team of developers have some brilliant ideas, but he still needs to show his genius and talents if he’s to crack this enigma.
TON’s Gram Token
Gram is TON’s inbuilt token. It will be the primary medium of value transfer in transactions within the network and aims at rivaling the processing times of VISA and MasterCard.
Similar tokens such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are limited by their need for technical know-how, processing power, and cost. Currently, it takes about one hour to complete a BTC transaction. It can take 15 seconds to 5 minutes for Ethereum if you pay ‘gas price’ for the resources required to hasten it.
TON and Gram aim to shave this down to a few seconds and make it as easy as sending a regular chat message.
With blockchain’s inherent security features and distributed infrastructure, Telegram and TON are well on the way to being invincible.
- What is so special about Telegram?
Telegram was built around security and the freedom to choose and express yourself. Its proprietary end-to-end encryption is one of the best, although mostly untested. It offers limitless opportunities in terms of file sharing, privacy, and anonymity.
Plus, Telegram does not aim to make a profit. Therefore, it contains no ads, charges no fees, and only accepts donations towards the larger TON project.
2. Is Telegram banned?
Due to Telegram’s resistance to big brother surveillance, Telegram was banned in the whole of Russia (where, ironically, its founders are citizens) in 2018. It is also banned from China, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Iran, Bahrain, and Indonesia.
3. Who owns Telegram?
Pavel Durov is one of the founders and majority shareholders of Telegram as of 2020.
4. Is Telegram better than Whatsapp?
If you’re looking for speed, reliability, and security, Telegram is far superior to Whatsapp. It also allows broadcasting to more people, as well as media and file sharing. However, it lacks video and audio calling capabilities. It also lacks the subscriber base currently enjoyed by Whatsapp (300million monthly users vs 2 billion)
5. Can Telegram be hacked?
Any app can be hacked with the right resources. However, Telegram is one of the most difficult to infiltrate, especially without encryption keys. Telegram has always refused to share these with security agencies, which has resulted in a lot of friction.
However, it also depends on the security standards maintained by the user. Two-Factor authentication keys can be stolen from your phone. You also need to have enabled private chats for maximum security.
6. How does Telegram make money?
Telegram is entirely free and runs on donations. It is not designed to make a profit in any way as of 2020.
7. Can people see your number on Telegram?
By default, those people who you have added as contacts on your contacts list can see your number. However, you can set it private so that no one else but you can see it.
8. What are the disadvantages of the Telegram app?
Telegram has a few weaknesses. For one, it lacks the features to do audio or video calls. It also downloads your entire contact list securely to Telegram servers upon the first installation. Finally, it notifies everyone on your contacts list when you join Telegram unless you disable its permission to read contacts on installation.
Telegram has been very popular among users who value their privacy and security. It’s more than a social media app: it is a movement marching towards total freedom and security on the internet for the average user. Best of all, it’s free!