After auctioning unique usernames on the TON blockchain, Telegram is now offering anonymous numbers to bid. These numbers can be used to sign up for Telegram without the need for a SIM card.
Similar to the username auction, you can purchase these virtual numbers on Fragment, a site created specifically for Telegram-related auctions. To buy a song, you need to link your TON wallet (Tonkeeper) to the website.
You can buy any number for just nine toncoins, which equals about $16.50 at the time of writing. Some of the premium virtual numbers – such as +888-8-888 – sell for 31,500 toncoins (~$58,200).
Specifically, you can only use this number to sign up for Telegram. You cannot use it to receive text messages or calls or to register for any other service.
For Telegram, this is another way to ask its most loyal supporters to support the app by helping it earn some money. The company launched its premium plan earlier this year. On Tuesday, chat app founder Pavel Durov said Telegram has more than 1 million paying users just a few months after launching its premium features. While Telegram offers features like syncing across devices and large groups, it’s important to remember that chats aren’t protected by end-to-end encryption.
As for people who want anonymization, Telegram already offers to hide your phone number. Alternatively, there are plenty of virtual phone number services – including Google Voice, Hushed, and India-based Doosra – that let you receive calls and text messages as well.