When all's said and done, Pavel Durov really is about as flamboyant and colorful a character as any Russian billionaire you might think of off the top of your head – but Durov happens to somehow come across as a whole lot less off-putting.
That's not least because of the nature of the enterprise that made him a billionaire in the first place.
Namely, this guy wasn't out there in the biting frost, snatching up Russia's oil, gas, or diamond processing facilities surrounded by a gang of armed goons in the chaotic 90s – no, Durov was merely a lovable nerd, who created VK – a Facebook clone social network for Russian and former USSR markets – and it was there that he struck gold.
But all good things must come to an end, and so in 2014, Durov was ousted as the VK CEO. From there, he went on to set up Telegram – a now very popular chat app that's marketed as “encrypted” and therefore, “secure” – and it really is – for the most part.
Durov and his brother Nikolai have in the meanwhile lived in self-imposed exile, transitioning from Russian to Saint Kitts and Nevis billionaires.
Away from Russia, and disassociating their business from Russia – they have no doubt been focused on the one thing many tech billionaires have had their eye on: new ways to make the world a better place.
In fact, Dark Web be damned – the quest continues to create a whole new “internet that cannot be censored.” No doubt it's an attractive idea, and Durov, according to a Tsarizm report plans to market it by capitalizing on big buzzwords: blockchain, and censorship.
Durov looks to be timing the launch of his Telegram Open Network with October 31 – one day before the Russian government rolls out its own “sovereign internet” project.
All that's left for Durov now is to show up for his Halloween party wearing a bunch of clumped-up glowing fiber optic cables, sticking out of his Russian collar shirt.
We know we'd do it.
But of course – he can also do what we can't – i.e., promise of an internet that cannot be censored and make it a cold, hard reality for us all.