I had the chance to attend CoinAgenda 2018 a few weeks ago to help launch the DigitalBits Project, a blockchain protocol to support the loyalty and rewards industry. It was an incredible time. The blockchain space is full of optimism, innovation and good people looking to do great things. But the thing that astounded me most, was the pervasiveness of the messaging app, Telegram. Everyone in the cryptocurrency space is using it.
I looked into the app and discovered an excellent messaging platform packed full of features. I became immersed and did a little digging on Telegram’s growth. Telegram has racked up over 200 million users in the past 5 years, which is no small feat. It has become a global messaging phenomenon that could unseat Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and BBM in short order.
But it’s not just about user growth. Telegram is primed to be a player in the new age of messaging; one that’s focused on security, decentralization, and alternative monetization efforts. Here’s why I think it could unseat the big boys in the very near future.
“The no. 1 reason for me to support and help launch Telegram was to build a means of communication that can’t be accessed by the Russian security agencies,” Pavel Durov, founder of Telegram.
Telegram positions itself as the most secure messaging app in the world. This is attributed, in part, to Nikolai Durov’s open-sourced MTProto protocol. The company is so confident in its security that they’re offering $200,000 to anyone who can crack the code. Telegram users are even able to communicate via a secret chat mechanism with other individuals. Secret Chat is end-to-end encryption that leaves no trace of the conversation on the company’s servers. Why is security important? In North America, we’re not as paranoid about government surveillance as other countries. But in countries like Russia, Turkey, and Iran, communication platforms like Telegram offer a mechanism for private communications.
Although positioned as secure, there are some detractors to the claims made by Telegram.
Telegram has a substantial ecosystem of bots that allow you to supercharge your messaging. Some of my favourites are:
- Weatherman Bot: Get weather updates for your city
- Translator Bot: Translate your telegram messages into any language
- Sticker Bot: Create stickers from pictures.
- Trending Bot: Gathers Google trends and searches, Twitter trends, YouTube and Vimeo trending videos from 45 countries, all in one place
Telegram is thinking big with an ambitious project called the Telegram Open Network. The idea is to decentralize digital communication, from file sharing to browsing to transactions. To date, they’ve raised over $1.7 Billion to fuel this vision. Telegram views itself as more than a messaging app. It views messaging as only a single aspect of a secure transaction network. Think of it as VISA/Mastercard meets messaging, meets blockchain. It will become more than a messaging service. It will become a complete transactional platform.
If Telegram can make this happen, it will surpass the functionality of all messaging apps, and become the global leader. But, not everyone is buying into this vision.
Try Out Telegram
I know the last thing anyone needs is another messaging tool. But Telegram is different. It’s the next evolution in messaging, an intersection of chat and transaction with a supposedly secure protocol. It’s my belief that whether it is Telegram or WhatsApp or BBM, the future of messaging will be grander than we can imagine. It is worth exploring because it tells us about the future. Secure 1-to-1 transactions are where we are headed. And Telegram is charting the course.