Russia’s internet censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, ordered internet providers to block access to the Telegram messenger after the company refused demands that Telegram hand over its encryption keys, as the nation’s repressive internet law requires.
Pavel Durov, who had previously built Russia’s largest social network, Vkontakte, wanted to turn Telegram into a blockchain-based economy for its more than 200-million users. To that end, he launched the world’s biggest initial coin offering (ICO), raising $850m so far.
Now Anton Protsenko, who runs the Telegram Marketing channel, has predicted that the government ban will cut the messenger’s Russian audience by half, after which it will rebound to 70%. But that’s overly optimistic considering it assumes millions of people will pay for commercial VPNs or accept a much slower internet via free proxies just to avoid switching from Telegram to other messengers. Read more.