During a keynote at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Pavel Durov, Telegram founder and CEO, took to the stage to reveal the new milestone figure, which represents an increase of 38 million new users since last May. Durov also confirmed that the service is now signing up 350,000 new users each day, with users in 200 countries sending 15 billion messages daily — up from 12 billion last September.
Telegram now has 100,000,000 monthly active users, 350,000 new users join daily. Thank you for spreading the word! https://t.co/0FN7J9Fl1v
— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) February 23, 2016
While a 60 percent increase in active users is impressive growth for Telegram, Facebook-owned WhatsApp recently flew past one billion MAUs, and Facebook Messenger is close to that number too, so Telegram still has a ways to go. However, given that Telegram was founded less than three years ago and remains an independent company without the brawn of a big-name backer, 100 million users is nothing to sniff at.
“We’re extremely proud and happy that all this growth is 100 percent organic — we had zero marketing budget,” Durov said during his keynote. “This is a global phenomenon, a global product.”
Founded in 2013 by Pavel Durov (creator of Russian social networking giant VK) and his brother Nikolai, Telegram has built a solid reputation in the competitive chat app realm. This is in part due to the company’s focus on encryption — Telegram’s servers are protected by the MTProto protocol, while the app also offers a secret chat feature that makes it easy to delete messages or schedule a time for them to self-destruct.
Telegram’s steady rise can also, in part, be linked directly to its big-name competitors — when Facebook acquired WhatsApp back in 2014, Telegram’s popularity spiked as a result of some people’s unwillingness to use a Facebook-owned messaging service. And when Brazil blocked WhatsApp back in December, Telegram saw a whopping 1 million downloads in a single day in that country alone.
Today’s news comes two weeks after Telegram rolled out a slew of new features for users, including the ability to listen and record voice messages by lifting their phone, enhanced privacy controls, sharing extensions, a new photo editor, and hotkey support.