Telegram, one of the most popular messaging apps in cryptocurrency circles, has announced it will introduce a paid premium tier of its services that will allow its users to access new features and expand upon some that are already available.
The move comes as the company seeks to monetize a good part of its userbase, which recently reached a milestone of 700 million monthly active users.
The premium tier is an answer to the requirements of a set of users that wanted to upgrade their bandwidth and storage from within the app, according to CEO Pavel Durov. He stated:
After giving it some thought, we realized that the only way to let our most demanding fans get more while keeping our existing features free is to make those raised limits a paid option.
Among the new features available for paid users are the extension of the number of channels that they can follow — 1,000, up from the 500 that the free tier offers — and also the creation of 20 chat folders with 200 chats in each folder. The pricing for this new service tier has not been disclosed as of writing, but according to Techcrunch, estimates are close to the six-dollar mark.
Road to Monetization
This is not the first attempt from Telegram to monetize services on the platform, which provides messaging and content management systems to thousands of individuals and companies at a worldwide level. The company introduced the feature of sponsored messages last year, allowing advertisers to put such messages in large channels with more than 1,000 subscribers.
However, the biggest attempt at monetization was the launch of Telegram’s own token, called gram. The initiative managed to gather more than $1 billion from investors all over the world but was ultimately shut down by the U.S. SEC, which issued a temporary restraining order against the company back in 2019. This led Telegram to drop the launch of the token, and to return the money to investors, also paying a fine to the institution.