Telegram may not remain free for users in the days to come. The founder and CEO of the company Pavel Durov said on Wednesday that it needs to generate revenue from 2021 to keep the business going. Telegram will soon get around 500 million active users but in order to continue services, the company needs appropriate funding.

Durov in his Telegram channel has shared that he has paid money for the company’s expenses from his personal savings. But now that the company is growing with billions of active users, it needs adequate funding.

Talking about his plans to generate revenue, Durov said, “Telegram will begin to generate revenue, starting next year. We will do it in accordance with our values and the pledges we have made over the last 7 years. Thanks to our current scale, we will be able to do it in a non-intrusive way. Most users will hardly notice any change.”

However, he mentioned that the features that are currently free would remain free. No additional charges will be implied on them. “All the features that are currently free will stay free. We will add some new features for business teams or power users. Some of these features will require more resources and will be paid for by these premium users. Regular users will be able to keep enjoying Telegram for free, forever,” he said.

Durov said that one-on-one messaging would remain ad-free. As he feels that displaying ads in the middle of the chats is not a very good idea.

“If Telegram starts earning money, the community should also benefit. For example, If we monetize large public one-to-many channels via the Ad Platform, the owners of these channels will receive free traffic in proportion to their size. Or, if Telegram introduces premium stickers with additional expressive features, the artists who make stickers of this new type will also get a part of the profit. We want millions of Telegram-based creators and small businesses to thrive, enriching the experience of all our users,” Durov said.

Durov said that in order to generate revenue it does not plan to sell Telegram like the founders of Whatsapp. “The world needs Telegram to stay independent as a place where users are respected and high-quality service is ensured. Telegram must continue to serve the world as an example of a tech company that strives for perfection and integrity. And, as the sad examples of our predecessors’ show, that is impossible if you become part of a corporation,” he said.