Telegram sells fake phone numbers for cryptocurrency

A phone with a telegram app icon surrounded by $100 bills.

Telegram has facilitated the sale of over $50 million in usernames in crypto auctions, and now it wants to auction off fake phone numbers to allow access to the platform.
picture: Mechanical (Clash)

Telegram is not done yet finding new ways to monetize access to its platform. On Tuesday, the encrypted messaging app announced that users will be able to sign up for its services without having to access a SIM card. How might you ask? By purchasing a cryptocurrency phone number, of course.

in blog postTelegram said it was making it possible to access the app by “using anonymous numbers powered by the blockchain” which are now being auctioned for cryptocurrency on the company’s Fragment crypto platform. Although users can access Telegram with an encrypted phone number, it now gives users of the app a way to do so anonymously, as long as they are willing to open their crypto wallets.

It should be noted that the Fragment Marketplace is not available in the US. After connecting to the service using a VPN, it showed that some numbers were just under $40 with six days left to bid, while others, such as 888-8-888, had sold over For $61,850 with two weeks left in the bidding process. The thing is, you can’t use those numbers for anything other than signing up for Telegram, which makes the idea of ​​an “auction” even more crazy.

Some of the fake anonymous numbers have been sold for ridiculous amounts considering they only have a use in helping users sign up for Telegram.

Some of the fake anonymous numbers have been sold for ridiculous amounts considering they only have a use in helping users sign up for Telegram.
screenshot: fragment

Telegram has aggressively monetized its platform over the past year to generate more money from its 700 million global active users. On Tuesday, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov He said on his official channel that his company has more than a million people paying for Telegram Premium, which was released just five months ago, even though premium subscribers are a “fraction” of their total revenue.

Fragment is also where Telegram sells popular usernames for a little bit of crypto cash. Telegram and its new expressed love for cryptocurrency does not appear to sit well with US regulators, as has been evident in the past.

Back in October, Telegram started auction Popular usernames on the TON blockchain, which was originally developed by Telegram before the split after the SEC launched an investigation into the company for selling unregistered securities.

But things did not go without a hitch. In August, Durov told users that the company had received addresses from users who were “Empty or inactive in the last year. The CEO promised that “99%” of those titles would be re-offered to the public, while only 1% would go to auction. Before the username was released to the auction house, the company reportedly began reclaiming some popular names that were already in use without notifying those users first. As mentioned in a post by Molly White of Web3isGoingGreatthe relatively young Twitch content creator UmbyUmbreon chirp Last November, their username @umbyvids and @umbydotdog were put up for auction without their consent.

These names were then resold as expensive NFTs on Fragment. The most expensive variants of names such as “Facebook” sold for $94,200 while “Amazon” sold for $425,000, all in TON. Currently, the username “coin” is priced at $585,900, which you can expect will be very beneficial to anyone trying to lure gullible Telegram users into any number of untested, scam-riddled crypto adventures.

It’s unclear if the company is responding to some of the backlash, but Telegram announced last month that it would allow its users to list their usernames on Fragment for free without making an initial offer. Once anyone places a bid, it begins a 7-day eBay-style auction, during which the platform takes a fee from the proceeds.

Durov is a Russian-born and self-proclaimed millionaire Libertarian, so it makes sense that he would be in the cryptocurrency world. On November 30, CEO claimed on his page This part has already been sold out $50 million worth of usernames in less than a month. He said he aims to add “decentralized” crypto wallets and crypto exchanges on the Fragment platform, apparently ignoring what happened the last time when his company was bumped upside down by the SEC. Although the crypto world has rocked before corruption It is detailed by The collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchangeDurov has publicly exclaimed the advantages of “decentralizing” cryptography and how blockchain technology “should finally be able to carry out its primary mission – to give power back to the people.”

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