The way we communicate is changing. Nowhere is this more starkly shown than in the rise of instant messaging platforms, which have seen exponential growth in recent years.
Picking up the phone in order to talk to someone is becoming increasingly rare, as more and more people use instant messaging apps to chat and share content. Phone contracts used to be all about the number of free minutes on offer – now, it’s all about the data.
While older generations may still pick up the phone, it’s becoming an old fashioned habit to have. It must seem baffling to the uninitiated, with so many different messaging platforms and apps to choose from and with many people using a variety to stay in touch with discrete groups of friends, colleagues and family.
Not so long ago it seemed as though WhatsApp held an unassailable position as most people’s messaging app of choice, at least here in the West. It’s still the most popular instant messaging platform across the world, with two billion active monthly users, but its dominance is being challenged by the rise of a number of alternative platforms.
When discussing instant messaging, it’s not long before the F word comes up. Since acquiring WhatsApp in 2014 for an astonishing $19 billion, Facebook has become the biggest player in the space, with WhatsApp’s two billion users under its umbrella, as well as the 1.3 billion users of Facebook Messenger. These two platforms occupy the top two spots in the rankings, making Mark Zuckerberg and co the dominant force when it comes to modern communications.
Yet for all its power, Facebook is in large part the underlying reason behind the emergence of rival messaging apps in recent years. Facebook makes money through harvesting and selling the data it gleans from its users, which is much prized by advertisers. As the world steadily wakes up to the implications of this business model, many people are looking for ways to keep their personal data out of the Zuck’s grubby paws.
The original deadline for accepting these new terms was February 8th 2021, though this was later pushed back by over three months to May 15th. Although chats will still be secured with end-to-end encryption (meaning not even Facebook can read them) the company can still collect metadata from users that will give it the ability to target advertising more efficiently. It should be noted that this change will not affect users in the UK and EU, who enjoy the benefits of much stricter data protection laws than elsewhere in the world.
In the wake of this announcement, interest in alternatives to WhatsApp surged and statistics showed that, in January 2021, Telegram became the most downloaded app across the world. The anti-Facebook resistance was starting to gain ground.
Let’s Talk Telegram
This deluge of new users pushed Telegram past the 500 million active monthly users mark and confirmed its status as one of the prime alternatives to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Since its release in 2013, it has been steadily increasing in popularity, but the announcement from WhatsApp and Facebook helped supercharge user numbers.
It should be noted at this point that there are two other massive messaging platforms that have a combined total of nearly two billion users. These are WeChat and QQ, both developed by China’s Tencent corporation and thus largely confined to the Chinese market. As such, although worthy of mention, they cannot be said to have the global reach of WhatsApp or indeed Telegram.
Telegram was founded by brothers Pavel and Nikolai Durov, who were initially based in Russia. They left the country in 2014, citing difficulties with the Putin regime. Telegram now operates from Dubai, though it has offices in a number of other countries and is legally domiciled in London.
The brothers had previously worked to develop VK (VKontakte), Russia’s hugely popular equivalent to Facebook. The success of the platform attracted the interest of powerful investors, many with links to Putin and his government.
After refusing to allow the government access to the details of Russians who had joined VK groups protesting against Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, the brothers sold their stake in the company and left, planning never to return.
Upon leaving Russia, Nikolai and Pavel began work on Telegram, with Nikolai writing the code and Pavel running the business side. Telegram was officially launched in late 2013 and has been growing steadily ever since. Since its inception, it has grown from 100,000 active users in October of that year to 15 million just six months later. The 100 million active users milestone was passed in early 2016 and growth has continued rapidly ever since.
When using Telegram for the first time, it becomes clear that it has a number of features that WhatsApp lacks. One big myth to bust about Telegram though is that which says it is more secure than its rivals.
While WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption by default, on Telegram this has to be activated. It is a mistake to imagine that your chats on Telegram are completely secure – unless you activate the secret chat function, then your chats are stored on Telegram’s servers.
The company claims that it never has nor will disclose the user information it holds, but those wishing to communicate in complete privacy will need to think carefully before using the platform and should certainly enable the secret chats function.
Telegram has generated its fair share of controversy over the last few years, as the platform has found itself used by the likes of jihadis, the far-right and those spreading pornography – often that featuring underage children. The jihadi adoption caused particular disquiet, especially when it was reported that Islamic State (ISIS) fighters were using Telegram to communicate and spread propaganda.
Telegram and Crypto
One of the most popular features that Telegram offers (quite apart from the insanely joyful sticker packs) is Channels, which can be used to broadcast messages to large groups of followers. Channels can be thought of as a kind of news feed that subscribers can sign up to and receive regular updates from. They allow for an unlimited number of subscribers and do not support replies – meaning that the channel admin can broadcast exclusively.
Posts in channels have a handy feature which tells you how many people have viewed the post in question (it’s the eye symbol in the bottom right, next to the timestamp). This way, both creators and other subscribers can gauge the popularity of particular posts, enabling the former to better tailor their content in the future.
The Channels feature has been enthusiastically embraced by the crypto community as a way of disseminating information regarding all aspects of the sector. A plethora of crypto-related channels have sprung up in recent years, dedicated to a wide variety of topics, including news, market action, trading insights, gossip and much more. As is to be expected, these range from the good to the bad to the ugly, which is why we’ve listed ten of the best ones below.
Telegram and crypto haven’t always been easy bedfellows though, as the company got its fingers badly burned when it attempted to launch its Telegram Open Network (TON) blockchain project back in 2018. It secured around $1.7 billion in funding from qualified investors, with the aim of developing a proof of stake blockchain with its own native GRAM token.
That was until the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) intervened and sued Telegram shortly before the project’s official launch in 2019. The SEC maintained that the project constituted the sale of an unregistered security and a federal court later found in favour of the authorities.
Telegram and the SEC reached a settlement that involved the former paying an $18.5 million fine and returning all the money it had raised from investors. Not exactly the most auspicious of forays into the world of crypto.
The failure of the Telegram ICO may have limited the company’s crypto ambitions for the time being, but the platform is firmly established as the go-to messaging app for the crypto community. If you’re looking to get involved with all that crypto Telegram has to offer, then read on.
The Top 10 Crypto Telegram Channels
1. Coin Bureau Insider
Well, obviously. Guy has been working on Coin Bureau Insider for over a year now and has over 132,000 subscribers hanging on his every word. The channel is a place for him to air his thoughts in real-time and instantly share useful and relevant bits of information that he stumbles across during the course of his (very long) working day.
While YouTube remains Coin Bureau’s main outlet, the Telegram channel provides a vital addition to the stable and allows Guy to communicate with subscribers much more immediately than he could on the Tube. Those YouTube videos take time to research, write, film and edit, which can make it difficult to get information out quickly. With Telegram, updates and insights can be fired out a lot more quickly – after all, the saying ‘time is money’ applies to crypto perhaps more than anything else.
Coin Bureau Insider is also the place to go if you’re looking for sneak previews of Guy’s upcoming videos, as well as updates about new merch lines, deals and other juicy morsels that come Guy’s way. He also occasionally shares updates about his own portfolio, though if you want these in detail then his weekly newsletter is where you’ll find a full rundown.
As ever with Guy, there’s no shilling here and the channel is focused on keeping you informed and in the know. While many other channels also post the same news stories and look largely similar, Guy avoids all that and prefers to share stuff you might not find elsewhere. He also gives his two cents on the latest stories from the cryptoverse, as well as sharing links and other resources that cross his path. A must for anyone wanting to have Coin Bureau with them wherever they go.
While there’s no shortage of crypto news outlets about the place, there’s a lot to be said for having regular updates sent directly to your phone. Keeping abreast of all the latest goings-on is vital for anyone wanting to stay in tune with the markets, as price pumps and crashes are always linked to something happening in the wider crypto community.
Cointelegraph has been around for a while now and has established itself as one of the most reliable and up-to-the-minute sources for crypto news and analysis. Its Telegram channel has nearly 145,000 subscribers and posts several updates a day, meaning you’re always in the loop from this most trustworthy of sources.
3. DeFi – news, reviews, articles
At number three on our list is a channel with a DeFi leaning, but one that inevitably posts all the latest news stories too. A nice touch is how the day’s news is broken down into a single post, with a checklist of all the major stories, so there’s no need to scroll back and see what you missed.
It’s great to see a Telegram channel that leans so solidly towards DeFi and gives coverage to some of the coins and protocols that many others tend to ignore. Just over 38,000 subscribers tune in to this particular channel and we feel it should be a lot more.
4. ICO Drops – ICO News & Alerts
ICO Drops is one of the most valuable research tools out there and vital for keeping tabs on emerging crypto and blockchain projects. Its Telegram channel is more news-focused, but still a useful one to know about.
Posts are put out daily and the channel has attracted 48,000 subscribers to date. As well as general crypto news it also previews exchange listings and new token launches, besides goings-on at the exchanges themselves.
5. Crypto VIP Signal
More trading signals and technical analysis here from a channel with 285,000 subscribers. The main game here is technical analysis tips, along with the usual news updates.
The channel puts out several updates a day and is a must for anyone looking to trade on a regular basis. 285,000 subs is impressive going for a Telegram channel, especially one with a more technical focus, so they must be doing something right.
6. Coingape- Internet of Money
Another longstanding crypto news resource, Coingape’s main site has been around for a while and now has a Telegram channel to complement it. All aspects of crypto news can be found here, with daily posts covering everything taking place in the cryptoverse.
The channel only has around 26,000 subscribers so far but is growing steadily and has some decent pedigree behind it. Unlike many other news channels, Coingape produces its own posts, which cover every conceivable aspect of crypto. If a crypto news story doesn’t make it onto this channel, it’s probably not worth reading.
7. Fat Pig Signals
One for all you traders out there. This wonderfully named channel provides impartial trading signals to those who buy and sell crypto for a living. Signals are a vital tool for any trader as they provide useful data and insights for those trying to read the market. They’re not the be-all and end-all of trading, but they’re certainly a handy weapon to have in the armoury.
Fat Pig Signals has a good track record when it comes to accuracy and the channel is run by a team of dedicated traders for the benefit of its more than 55,000 subscribers.
8. Uniswap Unicorns
For those looking for the next hot altcoin that could 100x to the moon, this is definitely a Telegram channel you want to be subscribed to. 324,000 subscribers are signed up, though post views only clock in at around 4,000 on average.
As well as the usual news stories, Uniswap Unicorns also regularly pumps little-known alts, keeping subscribers updated as to when pumps will start and how they are going. Some may take a dim view of this sort of behaviour, but whichever camp you’re in, it’s good to know about this channel so that you can stay abreast of what’s going on and easily trace the source of some pumps.
9. ICO SPEAKS NEWS
It’s a bit of a clunky title, but over 317,000 subscribers can’t be wrong. This channel is devoted to providing updates on ICOs, airdrops, token sales and much else besides. It’s a great resource for keeping tabs on the next hot project or altcoin and when they might be listed on exchanges.
The channel has been going since 2015 and is a useful one to have on your radar, especially if dabbling in alts is your thing.
Another news channel, but one which eschews the more clickbaity stories and graphics and instead gives the lowdown in short, sharp sentences, with links provided for those who want to do the deeper dives. There are also trading insights and other articles of interest to be found here.
The channel has just over 80,000 subscribers and posts regularly throughout the day. Whoever runs these posts loves a good graph, so if that sort of infographic is your thing then you’ll be well served here.
The Future of Crypto Comms?
As interest in crypto continues to grow and more people seek out sources of information – be it for research, trading or other purposes, Telegram looks set to continue as the instant messenger of choice for the community.
There is widespread unease about WhatsApp and Facebook, especially their centralised nature and data-based business models. Although many have overestimated the extent to which Telegram offers greater privacy than its rivals, its features, especially Channels, have caught big rivals napping.
WhatsApp is planning additional features to rival those introduced by Telegram, but it seems unlikely that the crypto community will be willing to migrate over to a Facebook-controlled entity without good reason. As social media continues to grow, it looks as though, alongside a YouTube channel, Twitter page, Instagram account and TikTok page, a Telegram channel is the latest must-have.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.