Pavel Durov like to portray inaccessibility, despite his half-naked photo in the Dating app Tinder, where he recently signed up.
“I’m not here looking something serious or not serious,” warns potential contenders out of the Russian fighter for privacy from Dubai, where he finally settled after three years of traveling around the world. “I’m just playing with the application”.
33-year-old Pavel Durov long time playing with the technology, after it was forced to sell his remaining stake in the largest Russian social network Vkontakte billionaire associated with the Kremlin, in 2014. He has developed encrypted instant messenger – Telegram, which calls protected from hacking. The number of users, Telegram has already reached about 180 million, among which only 40 million in Iran, and every day attracts about half a million.
He, along with his elder brother Nikolai (award-winning mathematician and programmer) precisely tuned software while traveling from country to country, avoiding the recruiters from razvedrota and law enforcement agencies such as the FBI. According to Durov, the authorities tried to bribe one of its developers in San Francisco. The location of the servers is kept secret, as most of the names of the employees, several of whom, according to him, his friends are millionaires.
“I really like it,” said the actor during a lunch with paella with seafood in Siddharta Lounge with views of the Harbor, near his new office on the 24th floor of a skyscraper Dubai Media City.
“My project is developing quickly, like a startup”.
Assange and Snowden
The St. Petersburg native said that he plans to present “something significant” in the new year. He left home with about $ 300 million from the sale of Vkontakte and 2000 bitcoins. Until recently, the film was not put out and had a sufficient cause.
First of all, he had at least tangential connections with the two most influential opponents of the U.S. government – Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. The founder of Wikileaks approved encryption technology Telegram, while Durov offered the informant the NSA (national security Agency USA) Assange’s work after his arrival in Moscow in 2013.
In addition, Iran recently Durova in absentia was charged with crimes related to the popular Telegram among terrorists, human traffickers and pedophiles. It seems that Durov staying calm under this pressure, even from countries where the death penalty even for a writer for a book written three decades ago.
“I am motivated by curiosity,” said he. “I really wonder what it’s like to run the most popular platform for social networking in a country like Iran.”
In connection with the ban of Twitter and Facebook, to Telegram account for about 40% of the Internet traffic in Iran, according to market researcher publication Techrasa. This is despite the fact that local mobile operators to convince government officials to prohibit the voice call function, represented by Durov in April. Telegram, which is running in an open network access, both on phones and PC, with a capacity of 500 000 “channels” Farsi where users can publish and edit all types of content that others can view free of charge.
For communication in Telegram users do not need to know numbers to each other, you only need the username. Thousands of people that use different operating systems, you can create your own protected chat and share a wide range of attachments. This is one of the reasons that the app has become a tool of the jihadists of the Islamic state. Durov says that now he is developing a search function that will help to get rid of extremist content. But private data “will always be untouchable.”
Other inaccessible thing, according to Durova, is profit. He considers the Telegram as a form of charity, which he’ll begin to translate into monetary value at the beginning of next year, but only for the purpose of financing the project. Unlike his first creation – Vkontakte, which will always face political pressure from the Kremlin, while the platform is in Russia, according to Durov, Telegram cannot be bought for any price.
Although the founders of its largest competitors, like WhatsApp and Skype, in the end, they sold, Durov says that he will continue to reject offers to purchase apps, such as those that he got from some influential members of Silicon valley. He refused to name them, but said that they offered Telegram from 3 to 5 billion dollars.
“He’s not for sale even for 20 billion dollars”, – said Durov. “And this lifetime guarantee”.
When Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, he paid about 40 dollars per user. This could be a useful benchmark for assessing the Telegram, according to a technical analyst at Otkritie Capital in Moscow Alexander Vengranovich. But it’s not a perfect comparison, because the Telegram becomes a platform for social networks, messengers are already quite saturated.
Bitcoin and taxes
In terms of luck, it’s unlikely that the actor took a big risk in connection with several strategic acquisitions. According to him, their bitcoins four years ago, he bought at a price of $ 750, and during that time their price has grown from 1.5 million to over $ 35 million. He also invested in the country Saint Kitts and Nevis to become a citizen.
The Internet tycoon said that he is optimistic about bitcoin because it is “digital gold”. The management of one of the world’s most popular application for messaging, according to him, is especially encouraged, when there is something “unpredictable” — “as it is now, when all the blockchain and cryptocurrency community has switched to using Telegram”.
Durov said that he chose Dubai, partly for the reason that it is a tax free zone, also it is in line with the philosophy of the liberal style of leadership.
“It’s a matter of principle, he said. Many people in the Western world do not realize how taxes constrain their opportunities. Eventually, taxes can amount to almost half of income, which essentially means that you work for the government 180 days a year. I think I can find better ways to use the money earned to benefit society”.
But, as the film acknowledges, there is a downside to living in such a socially and religiously conservative country like the United Arab Emirates.
“I would be much more complicated if I was gay or a big fan of alcohol or pork,” said he.
Durov – a controversial person. It will post photo with a naked torso in Tinder, but refused to be photographed for interview invites reporters, but may suddenly change her mind.
A totalitarian state
Durov was born in the Soviet Union in 1984. His place and date of birth are the two characters both actual and fictional, evil totalitarian country. He became a hero for many millennial in Russia for trolling FSB, which required the provision of data about users of VK in 2011, after leaders of the opposition through this network organized the largest protests against the rule of Vladimir Putin.
He gave back the successor of the KGB posting a photo of a German shepherd with his tongue hanging out in the hood in your feed on Twitter. The actor even reached the age to vote, when Putin first came to power. He avoids talking about politics, including a hacker attack during the US election. According to him, it is completely unknown whether Russia is behind the phishing attacks on the democratic party. But whoever’s behind this obviously don’t need a state sponsor.
“I would have to do it when I was 12, he said. There is nothing complicated.”
In his opinion, fair game for criticism, is a policy like “crazy, stupid laws” that give the Russian government more spy powers. However, the last thing the film wants to be considered as a dissident.
In fact, there is irony, which enjoys the film: one of the most secretive people on the planet, the staff of Putin in the Kremlin, not just use an encrypted network, but publicly praise it, although with characteristic caution.
“The Telegram is very convenient, said through Telegram, Putin’s press Secretary Dmitry Peskov. – We use it for public information, but not for the service. The Internet never can be fully protected.”