The Russian-born entrepreneur Pavel Durov was once caught on camera throwing paper aeroplanes out of his
St Petersburg office window, carefully folded from 5,000-rouble notes. If helping one of his lieutenants give away his bonus was the outspoken libertarian’s way of showing contempt for money, he appears to have changed his tune.
Rather than frittering cash, over the coming weeks Durov is intent on gathering a huge pile of it. Telegram, the encrypted messaging platform he set up five years ago, has the world’s wealthiest internet backers scrambling to invest. But in his quest to raise $1.2 billion in two stages, Durov is not selling shares in his company. The 33-year-old, who began coding aged 10 and created his first multi-player game soon afterwards, is offering the chance to buy units of a cryptocurrency that…