Telegram announced an update introducing an anonymous alternative to a standard phone number. Now, users don't need a SIM card to set up an account in the app. They can do it with a blockchain-based number available on the Fragment platform, paying in toncoins, the Telegram Open Network's native token.
The price for a random number, starting with +888, is 9 TON ($16).
However, Telegram didn't waste the chance to make money on selling "premium" numbers which are available to buy on auction or for a fixed price. The numbers on sale are offered for prices ranging from moderate to insane, with the highest reaching an absurd 100,000,000 TON, an equivalent of about $184,000,000 – for an asset that doesn't even look fancy.
Offers at the auction are also way over the top but seem reasonable in comparison. The minimum bid for the eights-only number is 34,729 TON ($63,554). At the time of writing, no offer went past that amount.
The sale of anonymous numbers is another neat attempt by Telegram to capitalize on the blockchain technology. Recently, the company made millions selling app handles with related web 3.0 addresses.
In its last blog post, Telegram also remarks that the app has always allowed users to control who can see their phone number as well as choose if they can be found by their phone number, and calls no-SIM accounts "a new era of privacy."
In the update, the privacy factor is additionally enhanced by the new auto-delete-all-chats feature. It allows users to set a global auto-delete timer for automatically removing messages in all new chats. It's an extension of the existing feature which allows users to set up an auto-delete timer for individual chats. Telegram has allowed deleting both sent and received messages without a trace since 2013.
To learn more about the features introduced in the last update, check the post on the Telegram's blog.