Users had to use their mobile phone number to sign up for Telegram, similar to other end-to-end encrypted messaging apps like Signal and WhatsApp. Although Telegram claims that your phone number is never visible to unknown people, it is still an identifier that inherently prevents you from having complete anonymity.
To get an anonymous number, you need to buy one through the Fragment blockchain, which you pay to use Toncoin – an offshoot of Telegram’s discontinued crypto effort. Unfortunately, for interested US residents, Fragment is not active in the country. But if you have access to buy the song, it can now be used in the Telegram app. Similarly, this year the company started auctioning shortened and collectible usernames, also sold with crypto.
On iOS, Telegram does not mention the anonymous number feature in the App Store description. However, during the signup process, you can manually enter the country code 888 and then you will be asked for your anonymous number. However, with the latest version of Telegram on Android, “Anonymous Numbers” is in the country list.
Furthermore, there is no indication of Apple suppressing the feature, but the company has previously blocked new Telegram features and Telegram CEO Pavel Durov has criticized Apple for being too slow to release updates. In posts posted on Telegram, Durov calls Fragment “an amazing success” that has already generated more than $50 million in sales in less than a month. According to Durov, thanks to these monetization schemes, “Telegram will be able to pay for the servers, traffic and wages necessary to continue building new features and supporting existing features. While some other apps view their users as a tool to maximize revenue, we view revenue as a tool to maximize value for our users.”
As for the other new additions in version 9.2, Telegram is expanding its old self-destructing messaging feature to work on a timer. You can now set a date and time for all new chats, including group chats Mission Impossible self-destruct messages. It is possible to extend this setting to older messages as well by going to Settings > Privacy and security > Automatically delete messages. And Telegram’s Topics 2.0 continues its discussion board style of group posts, but now expands the participation limit to over 100 people.
Telegram has recently released new features such as voice-to-text video transcriptions and launched its $5 per month premium service that offers users more upload capacity, no ads, and other features. With new automatic deletion and SIM-free account features, this closed-source messaging platform delivers “ultimate privacy,” according to the company.