Free iPhone and Android secure messaging app Telegram is offering US$200,000 in Bitcoins to anyone who can break the encryption of the secure messaging protocol used by the service.
Telegram announced the competition today, challenging the public to break into messages sent daily by founder Paul (Pavel) Durov to co-founder Nick (Nikolai) Durov containing a secret email address.
Competitors must send an email to the secret email address together with the whole text set out in the hacked message to prove they have successfully broken the encryption.
In addition, to claim the lump sum prize of the much coveted digital currency, competitors must provide the organisation with a detailed explanation of how the encryption was broken.
The competition will last until March 1, 2014, at which point, if there is no winner, encryption keys will be published.
Telegram prides itself on being “way more secure” than other instant messaging services, being heavily encrypted, and claims to be “the fastest and most secure messaging system in the world”.
The iPhone app was launched in August of this year, with an alpha version of the Android app released in October. A Mac OS X and a Windows version of the app are currently being developed by independent developers via Telegram’s open platform.
The service is free, with the team promising it will never becoming a financially-oriented business and will remain advertisment free.
“We believe in fast and secure messaging that is also 100 per cent free. Therefore Telegram is not a commercial project. It is not intended to sell ads, bring revenue or accept outside investment,” the founders said.
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