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Thoughts from the Product Manager / CEO / Founder of Telegram.
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The media often calls me a billionaire, but, unlike most billionaires, I don't own jets, yachts, cars or houses.

Creating things always seemed to me a more rewarding activity than engaging in consumption.
Since the day Telegram was launched almost 9 years ago, we've been giving our users more features and resources than any other messaging app. A free app as powerful as Telegram was revolutionary in 2013 and is still unprecedented in 2022. To this day, our limits on chats, media and file uploads are unrivaled.

And yet, many have been asking us to raise the current limits even further, so we looked into ways to let you go beyond what is already crazy. The problem here is that if we were to remove all limits for everyone, our server and traffic costs would have become unmanageable, so the party would be unfortunately over for everyone.

After giving it some thought, we realized that the only way to let our most demanding fans get more while keeping our existing features free is to make those raised limits a paid option. That's why this month we will introduce Telegram Premium, a subscription plan that allows anyone to acquire additional features, speed and resources. It will also allow users to support Telegram and join the club that receives new features first.

Not to worry though: all existing features remain free, and there are plenty of new free features coming. Moreover, even users who don't subscribe to Telegram Premium will be able to enjoy some of its benefits: for example, they will be able to view extra-large documents, media and stickers sent by Premium users, or tap to add Premium reactions already pinned to a message to react in the same way.

While our experiments with privacy-focused ads in public one-to-many channels have been more successful than we expected, I believe that Telegram should be funded primarily by its users, not advertisers. This way our users will always remain our main priority.
Telegram Web provides an extraordinary experience on desktops, but it also works great on mobile devices. It is prevented, however, from reaching native-app-level quality on iOS, because Apple limits web developers in terms of what they can do on iPhones and iPads.

In April, the developer of Telegram Web shared a 10-point list of issues in the iOS Safari browser that Apple has been unwilling to fix or improve for years (check it here for technical details). Other developers have even complained that Apple's Safari is killing the web.

We suspect that Apple may be intentionally crippling its web apps to force its users to download more native apps where Apple is able to charge its 30% commission (I wrote about why it is harmful here).

Fortunately, regulators have started to realise what is going on. This week, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a UK regulator, concluded:

"Apple bans alternatives to its own browser engine on its mobile devices; a restriction that is unique to Apple. The CMA is concerned this severely limits the potential for rival browsers to differentiate themselves from Safari (for example, on features such as speed and functionality) and limits Apple’s incentives to invest in its browser engine.

This restriction also seriously inhibits the capability of web apps – apps that run on a browser rather than having to be individually downloaded – depriving consumers and businesses of the full benefits of this innovative technology."

I think it's an accurate summary and hope that regulatory action will follow soon. It's sad that, more than ten years after Steve Job's death, a company that once revolutionized mobile web turned into its most significant roadblock.
Happy Solstice! ☀️

🎉 Telegram now has over 700 million monthly users.

With the latest update, we have also launched the Premium subscription on most devices.

The beauty of Telegram Premium is that if just 2,5-3% of our users sign up for this subscription, Telegram will cover its costs, supported purely by its users. This will herald a new, user-centric era in the history of social media services.

Thank you for loving Telegram! We ❤️ you back.
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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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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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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📝📝📝📝📝

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📝📝📝📝📝🛑

📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
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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 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.
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 my previous post. 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 t.me 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 adding support for dedicated links like username.t.me for every username on Telegram (in addition to t.me/username). These web sites are already functional in any browser.
Hackers could have full access (!) to everything on the phones of WhatsApp users.

This was possible through a security issue disclosed by WhatsApp itself 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 was discovered in 2018, then another in 2019 and yet another one in 2020 (tap each year's link to see the corresponding vulnerability). And yes, in 2017 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 "Why WhatsApp will never be secure" 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 Jeff Bezos found out in 2020. 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 13 years.
Thanks for the birthday wishes. However, I decided to cancel turning 38 due to the uneasy times in the world 😭

So I am
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🔤🔤🔤🔤🔤☕️
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As promised, we've launched the ability to buy Telegram usernames on a dedicated platform – Fragment. 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.
Some content creators started using third-party payment bots to sell access to individual posts in their Telegram channels. 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 restrictive ecosystem.
👨‍💻 We prepared some Halloween surprises for you, but it seems someone doesn’t want us to celebrate. Telegram's latest update has been stuck in Apple Review for more than a week, and we have not been informed about the current reason for the delay ⛔️

Apple claims they review apps within 24 hours, but, in our experience, it takes at least 7-10 days for any meaningful product update to reach the App Store. My friends who run smaller apps tell me it's even worse for them, as they have to wait more than a month just to ship bug fixes to their Apple users 😵‍💫

However, positive change is coming. Tomorrow, a new set of laws called the Digital Markets Act will come into force in the European Union. This regulation should put an end to the abuse of market power by gatekeepers like Apple and Google.

We, the developers, should start relying on the DMA to defend ourselves and our users. If you are an app developer who faces issues with the App Store or Google Play, let me know about it at pavel@telegram.org from your company e-mail address with the word "DMA" in the title. It will be up to Apple to decide if they want to spend their resources on improving their processes — or on fines.

Happy Halloween! 🥳
Time to fight some demons 😈
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I feel particularly excited about today’s Telegram update. 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 lots of features – 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 two-week delay caused by Apple’s review, we have begun to expand these new threaded groups into something even more powerful.
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 Fragment – 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.
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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2022 has been a successful year for Telegram. Telegram reached 700 million active users and solidified its position as one of the top 5 most downloaded mobile apps in the world.

This year was also the first year of monetization for Telegram. The results exceeded our expectations and have allowed us to lay the financial foundation for future growth.

In 2022, we shipped dozens of new features, which changed how messaging apps work and how billions communicate. We shall relentlessly continue on that trajectory in 2023.

At Telegram, we are lucky to be able to do what we love. I wish everyone the ability to follow their passion in the New Year 💫
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