Business Models

How Telegram Earns Money – Telegram Business Model

Telegram was created with a view to challenging the primacy of WhatsApp. It differs from the latter in allowing users to access accounts from multiple devices. Its makers also claim that its multi-data center infrastructure and encryption make it more secure than its Facebook-owned rival. All these come for free and many of us would have a question – How Telegram Earns Money?

Telegram is a messaging mobile application, developed for both iOS and Android platforms. Users can send text, audio, video messages, as well as stickers, images, documents.

There are also such advanced chatting features as user’s status, sending-delivery-read status, share geolocation, user groups, chat’s document library, video calls, etc. 

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It was founded by Nikolai and Pavel Durov in 2013 – founders of Russian social media platform VK (the largest in its domestic market). Initially headquartered in St Petersburg, the Telegram team has repeatedly changed jurisdiction to evade problematic regulations.

The operation is currently headquartered in Dubai, after stints in London (where it is legally registered), Berlin, and Singapore.

How Telegram is Different from Whatsapp

Both, WhatsApp and Telegram are instant messaging platforms that are designed to make communication quick and easy. Each app comes with a mobile and web version – this means conversations can be managed on multiple devices, a feature that is valued highly by users. 

Despite some similarities, there are some distinct differences between WhatsApp and Telegram.

1. Privacy

With the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook – people are becoming increasingly suspicious of the platform’s security capacity. WhatsApp promised end-to-end encryption, but recent reports emerged suggesting that spy malware had been created that could hack into and monitor people’s accounts – specifically in this reported case, politicians and activists from Israel.

How Telegram Earns Money

Telegram, on the other hand, allows the user to send encrypted and self-destructing messages – meaning a message or photo will disappear after a specified period of time.

Read: How to Make Money from Instagram – 5 Proven Ways

2. File Sharing

In telegram the maximum size of data you could transfer is 2 GB. Transferring files that are memory-heavy makes it possible to share critical short clips recorded in 4k format or even that casual outing video you made possible.

Also due to Cloud Storage, the receiver could stream the videos with downloading taking place in the background which makes video previewing easy.

How Telegram Earns Money

Whereas, the maximum file size allowed for all media to be sent or forwarded through WhatsApp is 16 MB on all platforms. Hence, WhatsApp lags behind Telegram in terms of file sharing.

Telegram also gives an option to the user to send their data in uncompressed form. Images that are often compressed by other messaging apps lose their details when compressed. Whereas in Telegram, you could send over your data without lossy transmission.

3. Storage

WhatsApp stores user data in the cloud that are controlled by different legal entities spread across different jurisdictions. For example, WhatsApp backs iPhone user data on iCloud and Android user data in Google Drive.

Data backed up on third-party applications like Google Drive and iCloud is not encrypted, and is accessible to hackers and the government via cloud storage.

How Telegram Earns Money

On the other hand, Telegram does not rely on third-party backups as WhatsApp does. It stores user data in the cloud that is controlled by Telegram itself. So that it does not have to give up data to third parties.

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4. Special Features

Telegram uses a real-time secure cloud that allows seamless access to the application on multiple devices at the same time and provides access to past chat history, large-group chats and channels, persistent message history, and minimal storage usage on the phone. 

The app also offers ‘Secret Chats’ feature, which adds another layer of encryption to only store messages on one device, and not on the cloud. These chats can neither be screenshot, nor be forwarded to another user. Users can also delete messages by setting a self-destruct timer ranging from one second to a week.

The other primary features of Telegram include bots, groups, and channels. Bots are simply Telegram accounts that are operated by software rather than actual people and these bots generally have AI features that can be used to teach, play, search, broadcast, conduct polls, reminders, etc.

Telegram groups, both private and public, allow up to 2 lakh members, against WhatsApp’s 100 members per group. Channels are essentially groups where only the admin can post. These channels can be used for broadcasting videos, images, and texts and can have any number of followers.

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How Telegram Earns Money – How Telegram Works

As Telegram approached 500 million active users, many of us are asking the question – How Telegram earns money to support this growth?

The answer is Telegram doesn’t make money at all. Telegram is a free app that currently runs on donations.

Durov in his Telegram channel has shared that he has paid money for the company’s expenses from his personal savings. But now that the company is growing with billions of active users, it needs adequate funding.

However, in December 2020, Durov pointed to the possible future revenue-generating strategies of Telegram. According to a Telegram blog:

All the features that are currently free will stay free. We will add some new features for business teams or power users. Some of these features will require more resources and will be paid for by these premium users. Regular users will be able to keep enjoying Telegram – for free, forever.

If Telegram starts earning money, the community should also benefit. For example, If we monetize large public one-to-many channels via the Ad Platform, the owners of these channels will receive free traffic in proportion to their size. Or, if Telegram introduces premium stickers with additional expressive features, the artists who make stickers of this new type will also get a part of the profit. We want millions of Telegram-based creators and small businesses to thrive, enriching the experience of all our users.

Possible Ways How Telegram Earns Money in the Future

These are the possible ways how Telegram earns money if it wants to in the future.

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1. Pay-for-Services Model

The messaging platform plans to launch a pay-for-services model next year wherein premium users will pay for certain features. However, the features that are currently free for users will remain so.

All the features that are currently free will stay free. Some new features for business teams or power users will be added. Some of these features will require more resources and will be paid for by these premium users. Regular users will be able to keep enjoying Telegram – for free, forever.

The platform also plans to launch premium stickers that users can purchase and use in chats.

2. Advertisements

According to Pavel Durov:

All parts of Telegram devoted to messaging will remain ad-free. We think that displaying ads in private 1-to-1 chats or group chats is a bad idea. Communication between people should be free of advertising of any sort.

In addition to its messaging component, Telegram has a social networking dimension. Our massive public one-to-many channels can have millions of subscribers each and are more like Twitter feeds. In many markets the owners of such channels display ads to earn money, sometimes using third-party ad platforms. The ads they post look like regular messages and are often intrusive. We will fix this by introducing our own Ad Platform for public one-to-many channels – one that is user-friendly respects the privacy and allows us to cover the costs of servers and traffic.

Some Quick Facts about Telegram

  • Telegram spends $0 on advertising.
  • Telegram once held a contest and offered a $200,000 prize to anyone who could crack the app’s encryption. No one managed to do it.
  • You can use Telegram on everything. Like, your desktop computer, be it a Windows, Mac, or Linux machine. You can use it on your smartphone or tablet, no matter if it runs iOS, Android, or Windows. And last but not least, you can also use it within your browser.
  • In January 2021 Telegram reported reaching 500 million users. 25 million of these had joined in a 72 hour period, following a new privacy policy from WhatsApp.
  • In the past, Telegram users had the ability to search for people based on phone numbers, which is now not a feature anymore.

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Telegram FAQs

In which countries Telegram is banned?

Telegram is banned in Iran, Ethiopia, China, Pakistan, and Russia.

Is downloading movies and web series from Telegram illegal?

Although video format files are safe for your device, downloading movies or web series from the Telegram channel is completely illegal. Telegram is also banning these types of channels but many channels are created by new users day by day.

Who is the founder of Telegram?

Pavel Durov is the founder of the Telegram app that gained popularity recently after WhatsApp pushed a contentious policy update.

Is telegram an Indian company? / Is telegram a Chinese app?

The Telegram was first launched by the brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov in the year 2013. It first started in Russia and it was later moved to Berlin in Germany. It does not belong to any country in particular, but it is a global non-commercial project with contributors from all over the world.

Is Telegram owned by Google?

No. Telegram is still owned by the same two people who founded the company, Pavel Durov and his brother Nikolai.

How much is Telegram worth?

Telegram is valued in the range of $3-5 Billion and according to the founders will never be up for sale.


Thanks for reading the post. Do you think Telegram will be able to make money? write your views in the comment box below.

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