Photo: Fintech
Photo: Fintech

Pavel Valeryevich Durov is a Russian entrepreneur who is best known for being the founder of the social networking site VK, and later the Telegram Messenger. December 12, 2017 it became known that Durov bought 2000 bitcoins about four years ago. One bitcoin cost $750, so Durov spent $1.5 million. Today its digital fortune is estimated at $ 35 million. Pavel Durov is calling bitcoins "digital gold".

Pavel Durov: Biography

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Pavel Valeryevich Durov was born on October 10, 1984 in St. Petersburg in the intellectuals family of Albina and Valery Durov. Pavel is their second common child. He also has an older brother, Nikolai.

Both brothers inherited outstanding mental abilities from their parents, which is not surprising, since Pavel’s father is a doctor of philological sciences, the author of such scientific works, as "Julius Caesar: a man and a writer" and "Nero: an actor on the throne", head of the department of classical philology of the philological faculty of St. Petersburg State University, and his mother worked as a professor at the same university.

As a child, Pavel had to move with his family to Italy, where in Turin his father was offered to work. There, Pavel went to first grade. Two years later, the whole family returned to Russia, where Pavel went to study at secondary school. After studying there for four years, Pavel transferred to the D.K. Faddeev Academic Gymnasium, where he studied all subjects in depth, including four foreign languages.

Durov started VKontakte, later known as VK, in 2006, which was initially influenced by Facebook. During the time when he and his brother Nikolai built upon the VKontakte website, the company grew to a value of $3 billion.

In 2011 he was involved in a standoff with a police team outside his home in St. Petersburg after the government demanded the removal of opposition politicians' pages after controversial parliamentary elections. They left after about an hour.

In December 2013, Durov was pressured into selling his 12% of VK stock to Ivan Tavrin, the owner of the major Russian internet company, who subsequently sold it to, giving it 52% majority ownership of VK. In 2014, bought all remaining shares became the sole owner of VK.

Read more: Top 10 Richest People in the World - A View to Their Net Worth

Dismissal from VK

On April 1, 2014, Durov submitted his resignation to the board; at first, due to the fact the company confirmed he had resigned, it was believed to be related to the Ukrainian crisis which started in February. However, Durov himself claimed it was an April Fool's Joke on April 3, 2014.

On April 16, 2014, Durov publicly refused to hand over data of Ukrainian protesters to Russia's security agencies and block Alexei Navalny's page on VK. Instead he posted the relevant orders on his own VK page claiming that the requests were unlawful.

On April 21, 2014, Durov was dismissed as CEO of VK. The company claimed it was acting on his letter of resignation a month earlier that he failed to recall. Durov then claimed the company had been effectively taken over by Vladimir Putin's allies, suggesting his ouster was the result of both his refusal to hand over personal details of users to federal law enforcement and his refusal to hand over the personal details of people who were members of a VKontakte group dedicated to the Euromaidan protest movement. Durov then left Russia and stated that he had "no plans to go back" and that "the country is incompatible with Internet business at the moment".

Life after VK

Upon leaving Russia, he obtained Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship through donating $250,000 to the country's Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation, and secured US$300 million in cash within Swiss banks. This allowed him to focus on creating his next company, Telegram, which was originally based in Berlin and focused on an encrypted messaging service.

Pavel Durov: Personal Life

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

In the documentary book of Nikolai Kononov, "The Code of Durov," Pavel is described as a cold and distant person. He can be obsessed with the idea and get carried away with it to the maximum, working on its implementation around the clock, and he requires the same zeal from his environment.

Judging by the photos of Pavel on Instagram, he is managing his body.It is also especially noticeable how his appearance has changed over the years. If in college the bald patches were visible on Pavel’s head, and his ears were protruding, but now he is the owner of chic hair, and ears are altered by otoplasty.

Durov does not share the details of his personal life. In some media sources you can find photos, on which he is captured in the company of beautiful girls with whom he attributed novels. But from Pavel Durov no official statements of this nature have been received. So his personal life for the media is a total mystery.

Some Facts Around Pavel Durov

He learned how to code in school, and used that to change the welcome screens on the school network to insult a teacher he didn’t like. He was close to his older brother, Nikolai Durov, who also knew how to code.

After leaving university in 2006 the Durov brothers started VKontakte, which was a Russian-language social network that worked in a similar way to Facebook. It became incredibly popular and grew to over 350 million users. Durov earned a lot of money from the site. He’s reported to have a net worth of around $260 million (£183 million.)

VKontakte was used as a hub by anti-government protestors who organised events to support political activist Alexei Navalny, a critic of Putin.

The Moscow Times says that when Durov was asked about his mystery project he sent a GIF from the movie “The Social Network” that showed Facebook president Sean Parker (played by Justin Timberlake) giving investors the middle finger.

The secret project in New York was Telegram, an encrypted chat app that makes it incredibly difficult for governments to spy on users. It was, in a way, a response to the intrusion by the Kremlin into VKontakte.

Durov reportedly spends $1 million (£700,000) of his money every month to keep Telegram running. It’s not generating any revenue yet.

Telegram founder Pavel Durov is now UAE's richest person

Eleven UAE residents have been named among the world's richest people in 2021 with two new entrants joining the league.

In all, they control a total of $43.4 billion (Dh159 billion) in wealth.

Pavel Durov, the founder and owner of messaging app Telegram, is the richest UAE resident with a staggering $17.2 billion (Dh63 billion) in 2021, according to Forbes' list of billionaires released on Wednesday.

Durov accounts for nearly 40 per cent of all of the UAE billionaires' wealth.

Ranked 112nd in Forbes' richest list, Durov is the first UAE resident to be ranked among the top 200 billionaires.

Durov's wealth grew exponentially recently after his messaging app Telegram, which has more than 500 million users worldwide, became popular after Facebook-owned WhatsApp announced new privacy policy.

As a result, Durov's wealth has grown by over 405 per cent in a year from $3.4 billion in 2020 to $17.2 billion in 2021.

Others who made to the list include MA Yusuffali, Majid Al Futtaim & family, Abdullah Al Ghurair & family, Micky Jagtiani, Ravi Pillai, Hussain Sajwani, Abdullah Al Futtaim, Thaksin Shinawatra, Saket Burman and Sunny Varkey.

Below is the complete list of the UAE's 11 richest people released by Forbes for 2021:

Pavel Durov

Wealth: $17.2 billion

Global ranking: #112

Source of wealth: Messaging app Telegram

Citizenship: Russia

MA Yusuffali

Wealth: $4.8 billion

Global ranking: #589

Source of wealth: Retail (LuLu Group)

Citizenship: India

Majid Al Futtaim & family

Wealth: $3.6 billion

Global ranking: #831

Source of wealth: Real estate, retail, etc.

Citizenship: UAE

Abdullah Al Ghurair & family

Wealth: $2.8 billion

Global ranking: #1111

Source of wealth: Banking, real estate etc.

Citizenship: UAE

Micky Jagtiani

Wealth: $2.8 billion

Global ranking: #1111

Source of wealth: Retail (Landmark Group)

Citizenship: India

Ravi Pillai

Wealth: $2.5 billion

Global ranking: #1249

Source of wealth: Construction

Citizenship: India

Hussain Sajwani

Wealth: $2.4 billion

Global ranking: #1299

Source of wealth: Real estate

Citizenship: UAE

Abdullah Al Futtaim & family

Wealth: $2.2 billion

Global ranking: #1444

Source of wealth: Automobiles, investments

Citizenship: UAE

Thaksin Shinawatra

Wealth: $2.0 billion

Global ranking: #1580

Source of wealth: Investments

Citizenship: Thailand

Saket Burman

Wealth: $1.8 billion

Global ranking: #1833

Source of wealth: Consumer goods

Citizenship: UK

Sunny Varkey

Wealth: $1.4 billion

Global ranking: #2141

Source of wealth: Education

Citizenship: India

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