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all posts Durov's Channel

Thoughts from the Product Manager / CEO / Founder of Telegram. 
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It has been a year since Telegram started its monetization, but the results have already exceeded our expectations. Unlike other apps, we took a privacy-conscious approach to ads: we decided that no personal data should be used for targeting and that promoted messages should only be shown in public one-to-many channels. Despite that, our ads have significantly outperformed the market and put Telegram on a steady path towards financial sustainability. Telegram Premium, which we introduced just 5 months ago, quickly surpassed 1 million subscribers and has become one of the most successful examples of a social media subscription plan ever launched. While it still represents just a fraction of Telegram’s overall revenue, Telegram Premium is growing steadily every day, and one day may even rival our ads. The future looks exciting. The additional monetization strategies I discussed in my previous posts are already bearing fruit, and the features we are working on now will set the foundation for further financial growth for Telegram in 2023. Thanks to successful monetization, Telegram will be able to pay for the servers, traffic and wages necessary to keep building new features and supporting existing ones. While some other apps consider their users a tool to maximize revenue, we consider revenue a tool to maximize value for our users.
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The blockchain industry was built on the promise of decentralization, but ended up being concentrated in the hands of a few who began to abuse their power. As a result, a lot of people lost their money when FTX, one of the largest exchanges, went bankrupt. The solution is clear: blockchain-based projects should go back to their roots – decentralization. Cryptocurrency users should switch to trustless transactions and self-hosted wallets that don't rely on any single third party. We, developers, should steer the blockchain industry away from centralization by building fast and easy-to-use decentralized applications for the masses. Such projects are finally feasible today. It took only 5 weeks and 5 people including myself to put together – a fully decentralized auction platform. We were able to do this because Fragment is based on The Open Network, or TON – a blockchain platform that is fast and efficient enough to host popular applications (unlike Ethereum, which unfortunately remains outdated and expensive even after its recent tweaks). Fragment has been an amazing success, with 50 million USD worth of usernames sold there in less than a month. This week, Fragment will expand beyond usernames. Telegram's next step is to build a set of decentralized tools, including non-custodial wallets and decentralized exchanges for millions of people to securely trade and store cryptocurrencies. This way we can fix the wrongs caused by the excessive centralization, which let down hundreds of thousands of cryptocurrency users. The time when the inefficiencies of legacy platforms justified centralization should be long gone. With technologies like TON reaching their potential, the blockchain industry should be finally able to deliver on its core mission – giving the power back to the people.
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I feel particularly excited about . It adds topics to large groups, transforming these linear chats into slick mobile-friendly versions of good old Internet Forums. Ironically, the very first popular internet service I built around 20 years ago was also an Internet Forum – a message board for students of my university, which eventually grew into the biggest student portal in the region. 16 years ago I again incorporated forums into the Communities section of VK, a social network I founded. Since VK was the most popular communication platform in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and other countries, tens of millions of people used the forum feature there. I feel nostalgic about those times: I had yet to learn the skill of hiring engineers and designers back then, so I programmed and designed everything on my own, working 20 hours per day. Today I am fortunate to have the best coding team in the world to recreate the forum experience for hundreds of millions across all platforms in a more modern, fast and accessible form. Telegram will now support organized conversations where thousands of people can concurrently discuss different subjects in the same group. Topics today come packed with – including the ability to close and pin topics, flexible notification options and lots of fun animated emoji to be used as topic icons. But this is just the start. Taking advantage of the caused by Apple’s review, we have begun to expand these new threaded groups into something even more powerful.
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Topics in Groups, Collectible Usernames, Voice-to-Text for Video Messages and More
Today's update adds topics to organize discussions in large groups, a new form of collectible usernames secured on a blockchain, an option to convert video messages to text, and much more.
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Some content creators started using third-party payment bots to sell access to individual posts. This way, content creators could receive close to 100% of whatever their subscribers paid, which was great. Unfortunately, we received word from Apple that they were not happy with content creators monetizing their efforts without paying a 30% tax to Apple. Since Apple has complete control over its ecosystem, we had no alternative but to disable such paid posts on iOS devices. This is just another example of how a trillion-dollar monopoly abuses its market dominance at the expense of millions of users who are trying to monetize their own content. I hope that the regulators in the EU, India and elsewhere start taking action before Apple destroys more dreams and crushes more entrepreneurs with a tax that is higher than any government-levied VAT. In the meantime, we at Telegram shall work to offer creators powerful and easy-to-use tools to monetize their content – outside of Apple's .
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Durov's Channel
7 Reasons Every iPhone User Should Be Worried About the App Store’s 30% Tax In the last few months, many prominent app developers voiced their disapproval of the App Store policies Apple imposes on all apps. Why should that concern you if you own an iPhone? Here are 7 reasons. HIGHER PRICES. Apple’s 30% commission makes all apps and digital goods more expensive for you. It goes on top of the price you pay to developers for any services and games you buy on your phone. You pay more for every app, even though Apple already charged you a few hundred dollars more for your iPhone than it cost to make. In short, you keep paying even after you have paid. CENSORSHIP. Some content in apps like Telegram is unavailable to you because Apple censors what is allowed on the App Store, which it fully controls to enforce the 30% tax. Apple even restricts us – app developers – from telling our users that certain content was hidden for iPhone users specifically at their request. Apple should realize how ridiculous their attempt…
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As , we've launched the ability to buy Telegram usernames on a dedicated platform – . Auctions for the most valuable usernames are already live, so make sure to check it out. In a few days, we will also introduce the ability for users to sell their existing usernames on Fragment. For the first time in the history of social media, a fair, transparent market for usernames is established. Finally people will have ownership over their social media addresses, secured in the immutable ledger of a decentralized blockchain network. This is just the beginning, and yet an important milestone – the power has started to shift into users' hands.
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Durov's Channel
I'm really impressed by the success of the auction TON recently conducted for their domain/wallet names. Wallet.ton was sold for 215,250 Toncoin (~$260000) while casino.ton was sold for ~$244000. If TON has been able to achieve these results, imagine how successful Telegram with its 700 million users could be if we put reserved @ usernames, group and channel links for auction. In addition to millions of catchy t.me addresses like @storm or @royal, all four-letter usernames could be made available for sale (@bank, @club, @game, @gift etc). This would create a new platform where username holders could transfer them to interested parties in protected deals – with ownership secured on the blockchain via NFT-like smart-contracts. Other elements of the Telegram ecosystem, including channels, stickers or emoji, could later also become part of this marketplace. When it comes to scalability and speed, TON probably has the best technology to host such decentralized sales. Our team can write bullet-proof smart contracts…
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Hackers could have full access (!) to everything on the phones of WhatsApp users. This was possible through a security issue last week. All a hacker had to do to control your phone was send you a malicious video or start a video call with you on WhatsApp. You are probably thinking "Yeah, but if I updated WhatsApp to the latest version, I am safe, right"? Not really. A WhatsApp security issue exactly like this one , then and (tap each year's link to see the corresponding vulnerability). And yes, before that. Prior to 2016, WhatsApp didn't have encryption at all. Every year, we learn about some issue in WhatsApp that puts everything on their users' devices at risk. Which means it's almost certain that a new security flaw already exists there. Such issues are hardly incidental – they are planted backdoors. If one backdoor is discovered and has to be removed, another one is added (read the post "" to understand why). It doesn't matter if you are the richest person on earth – if you have WhatsApp installed on your phone, all your data from every app on your device is accessible, as . That's why I deleted WhatsApp from my devices years ago. Having it installed creates a door to get into your phone. I'm not pushing people to switch to Telegram here. With 700M+ active users and 2M+ daily signups, Telegram doesn't need additional promotion. You can use any messaging app you like, but do stay away from WhatsApp – it has now been a surveillance tool for 14 years.
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Until recently, 70% of all Telegram usernames had been reserved in inactive channels by cybersquatters from Iran. This created a graveyard of dead usernames that cluttered search results and prevented millions of Telegram users from selecting appropriate public addresses for their accounts, groups and channels. Users who wanted to acquire these reserved usernames often received no response or ended up being scammed. Fortunately, this situation has started to change. In mid-August, we withdrew all public Telegram addresses linked to channels that were empty or inactive for the last year. We will gradually reintroduce 99% of these addresses into public use, this time with algorithmic and geolocation limitations so that more users, and not just a select few, can benefit. As for the highest-valued short usernames, the most efficient and fair way to distribute them seems to be by the auction I mentioned in . This way, those who acquire these catchy links will be motivated to put them to good use and bring value to our users with original content hosted at recognizable addresses. I don't doubt that those who hoarded Telegram usernames are disappointed, but this change will benefit the vast majority of our users. I look forward to seeing how millions of great Telegram addresses will be revived and finally start serving our community. P.S. In anticipation of the things to come, today we are for dedicated links like for every username on Telegram (in addition to ). These web sites are already functional in any browser.
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I'm really impressed by the TON recently conducted for their domain/wallet names. Wallet.ton was sold for 215,250 Toncoin (~$260000) while casino.ton was sold for ~$244000. If has been able to achieve these results, imagine how successful Telegram with its 700 million users could be if we put reserved @ usernames, group and channel links for auction. In addition to millions of catchy addresses like or , all four-letter usernames could be made available for sale (@bank, @club, @game, @gift etc). This would create a new platform where username holders could transfer them to interested parties in protected deals – with ownership secured on the blockchain via NFT-like smart-contracts. Other elements of the Telegram ecosystem, including channels, stickers or emoji, could later also become part of this marketplace. When it comes to scalability and speed, TON probably has the best technology to host such decentralized sales. Our team can write bullet-proof smart contracts for TON (since it was us who invented its smart-contract language), so we are inclined to try out TON as the underlying blockchain for our future marketplace. Let's see if we can add a little bit of Web 3.0 to Telegram in the coming weeks.
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It was an interesting engineering challenge to ensure that hundreds of vector-based emoji with smooth animations could simultaneously play on the screen of any mobile phone. Telegram is the first company ever to have implemented this in a mobile app. Adding custom emoji to the text of any message is just the first step of the upcoming visual revolution on Telegram. In a few weeks, users will be able to add any custom emoji as a reaction to a message and display an emoji as their current status next to their name. All of this will become available to Premium subscribers first, because they are the ones who make it possible for Telegram to stay free and private for everyone.
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aemoji.mp4

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After extensive media coverage of my previous post, Apple got back to us with a demand to water down our pending Telegram update by removing Telemoji – higher quality vector-animated versions of the standard emoji. This is a puzzling move on Apple's behalf, because Telemoji would have brought an entire new dimension to its static low-resolution emoji and would have significantly enriched their ecosystem. But it's good for Telegram long term, as we will now make Telemoji even more unique and recognizable. Besides, we have included 10 other emoji packs in today's update – together with the ability for any user to upload their own emoji.
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telemoji.mp4

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I love my work. What could be more exciting than improving the way hundreds of millions of people communicate? Members of our team, myself included, must be some of the luckiest people alive. The only thing that we find discouraging is that we're often unable to distribute the new versions of Telegram due to the obscure "review process" imposed on all mobile apps by the tech monopolies. For example, our upcoming update – which is about to revolutionize how people express themselves in messaging – has been stuck in Apple's "review" for two weeks, without explanation or any feedback provided by Apple. If Telegram, one of the top 10 most popular apps globally, is receiving this treatment, one can only imagine the difficulties experienced by smaller app developers. It's not just demoralizing: it causes direct financial losses to hundred of thousands of mobile apps globally. This harm goes on top of the 30% tax Apple and Google take from app developers – which, according to them, is supposed to pay for the resources needed to review apps. The regulators in the EU and elsewhere are slowly starting to look into these abusive practices. But the economic damage that has already been inflicted by Apple on the tech industry won't be undone.
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Last updated: 10.11.22
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