Telegram’s CEO Uses Bitcoin Grants to Bypass Russian Ban
In the aftermath of the nationwide ban on Telegram by the Russian government, the messaging app’s founder and CEO, Pavel Durov, has vowed to do all he can to bypass the ban.
This, as he revealed in a press release on his Telegram channel, would appear to include offering tokens in Bitcoin to network administrators running socks5 proxies and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).
The Ban on Telegram
The Russian government had announced a nationwide ban on Telegram after they were denied access to the company’s encryption keys.
The ban went into effect shortly after and all Russian internet service providers blacklisted the messenger, crippling communications over mainstream channels.
To further prove their resolve to deny as many people access to the privacy-focused messenger, the Russian government went on to block millions of IP addresses—an effort in futility because 24 hours after the ban was put into effect, there were no significant losses in traffic on the Telegram network despite Russia hosting over 7 percent of Telegram’s total user base.
But Durov wasn’t unbothered by the government’s flailing attempts at blocking users from using a messaging app with strong third-party cloud infrastructure and plenty of VPNs to go around.
As he stated, he was focused on helping every Russian Telegram user access the network with minimal hurdles, and he would do everything to achieve that.
Durov said on his Telegram channel that he has already pledged to donate millions of dollars in Bitcoin to users running socks5 proxies and VPNs to circumvent the ban in Russia. He calls this the “Digital Resistance,” a decentralized movement seeking to create digital freedom on a global scale.
The Back-And-Forth Continues
The Russian government is willing to lift the ban, but at a cost that feels too steep for Durov: surrendering access to the private messages of its users.
The messaging app founder is not wavered, nevertheless. He is determined to keep fighting for the digital freedom of the people of Russia, and with the help of several other donors, he hopes he can achieve that and much more by the creation of a decentralized global network.
As he stated, Telegram’s mission is to provide a private channel for communication, and to surrender the privacy aspect of it would be to go against their promises to their users. He would sooner have the messaging app shut down than to surrender the encryption keys to the government.
As the stand-off continues, Telegram’s record-breaking Initial Coin Offering (ICO), which has reportedly reached a staggering $1.7 billion, is still the largest ICO witnessed to date.
ICOs are still relatively nascent and a source of uncharted territory for the regulators working to tackle this ever-expanding gray area.
Even without the mystery, reports of fraudulent ICOs have began to hit too close to home, with one of the most recent rackets involving virtual currency startup Centra.
Durov implied that his company had every intention of creating a decentralized ecosystem specifically for the purpose of bypassing obstacles like such. With an ICO as sizeable as his company’s, many in the community feel that there may be no reason to doubt him.