Today, Telegram launched a new edition of their secure messaging app featuring the option to register an account with blockchain-based identities purchasable by users, rather than actual phone numbers. It also has an improved version of its Topics feature and the option to set timers for auto-deletion of messages in new conversations.
Users had to utilize their cellphone number to enroll in Telegram, akin to other encrypted messaging services like Signal and WhatsApp. While Telegram says your number is not visible to strangers, it’s still a identifier that limits you from complete anonymity.
In order to obtain an anonymous number, you must acquire it through Fragment’s blockchain using Toncoin. Unfortunately, Fragment is not available in the US. However, once you obtain the number, it can be used in Telegram. Additionally, this year, Fragment started offering collectible usernames and shortforms, paying with crypto.
In the iOS App Store description, Telegram does not mention the anonymous number feature. However, when signing up, you can input 888 for the country code and then it will prompt for your anonymous number. The Android version of Telegram has the “Anonymous Numbers” option in the country list in its most recent release.
Apple has not shown any sign of blocking the feature, however, it has blocked new Telegram features in the past. Pavel Durov, Telegram CEO, has voiced his grievances at Apple’s slow roll-out of updates. On Telegram, Durov refers to Fragment as an “amazing success” with more than $50 million earned in a short time. He thanks the monetization methods for the impressive numbers. “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.”
In version 9.2, Telegram is increasing the capability of its self-destructing messages feature by allowing users to set a timer. This works on all new chats, including group chats, so that messages will erase themselves at a predetermined date and time. It’s also possible to apply the same setting to older messages by going to Settings > Privacy and Security > Auto-Delete Messages. Furthermore, Topics 2.0 continues its discussion board style of group messaging but with the limit of participants now increased to over 100.
Telegram recently unveiled various capabilities, including voice-to-text video transcriptions, and a $5-per-month premium plan with extra upload allowance, no ads, and other advantages. It also has auto-delete and SIM card-free account capabilities, making this closed-source messaging platform “provide absolute privacy,” as declared by the company.