Telegram hits 400 million monthly active users

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Instant messaging service Telegram has amassed 400 million monthly active users, it said today, up from 300 million active users the seven-year-old service disclosed to the SEC last October.

The service — founded by Pavel Durov, who also created Russian social networking site VK — said it adds about 1.5 million users each day and is the most downloaded social media app in over 20 nations.

Telegram is working on bringing a secure video call feature to its users this year in response to the growing popularity of Zoom and Houseparty, it said. The company, headquartered in Dubai, however, did not talk about the future of its Gram cryptocurrency wallet and TON Blockchain that it had revealed in 2018 but put on hold early this year.

“As the gap in popularity between Telegram and its older competitors narrows, we find more and more validity in that original assumption,” the firm said in a blog post.

Telegram competes with dozens of popular instant messaging services including WhatsApp that has amassed over 2 billion users globally. Telegram often sees a surge in its user base when Facebook-owned service is facing an outage. Durov is also one of the most vocal critics of WhatsApp.

Telegram’s desktop app, which does not require the phone to be connected to the internet to function, and a range of features including folders and cloud storage have won it a loyal set of users.

But these features have also given rise to misuse of its platform with at least a few million of its users relying on the service to distribute and download illegal copies of movies, songs, and applications. Its piracy issue remains prevalent today.

Telegram has always operated with a degree of disregard for the opinions of government authorities and various corporates — that has resulted in some interesting use cases. Telegram, which is banned in China, counts the world’s most populous nation as one of its biggest markets.

People in the nation use virtual private networks (VPN) to download and run Telegram. Amid heavy censorship in China, Telegram became a refuge for WeChat users looking for authoritative information about the coronavirus early this year.

Telegram today revealed a sticker directory that lists over 20,000 stickers, and detailed a handful of improvements such as a new attachment menu on Android . The firm also said it was creating a database of educational tests for students, and plans to distribute 400,000 Euro to creators for creating those tests.

TechCrunch learned last week that the service had reached the 400 million users milestone, but at the time, Telegram did not respond to a request for comment.

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