Upon request by Roscomnadzor, Russian data protection authority, and in accordance with the court decision, the Telegram messenger to be banned in Russia. As a response to it, Pavel Durov, CEO of the company, said that Telegram would use Bitcoin to finance VPNs and proxies to provide back channels to users in Russia.

Despite the ban, as Durov stated, the situation among Russian users did not change much, as they tend to use proxies and VPNs to access the messenger. Additionally, the company relies on third-party cloud solutions to make Telegram partially available to Russians.

To support internet freedoms in Russia and elsewhere I started giving out Bitcoin grants to individuals and companies who run socks5 proxies and VPN. I am happy to donate millions of dollars this year to this cause, and hope that other people will follow,” said Pavel Durov.