Instant messaging service, Telegram, has revealed that it is close to reaching the 500 million user mark and it will be monetizing the app next year.

According to founder Pavel Durov in a Telegram message, “A project of our size needs at least a few hundred million dollars per year to keep going.” He has been personally bankrolling the seven-year-old business.

The service aims to introduce its own ad platform for public one-to-many channels. Durov says the ad platform will be user-friendly, respects privacy and will allow Telegram to cover the costs of server and traffic.

“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.”

Durov also says that Telegram could monetize its service is through premium stickers with “additional expressive features. He adds that “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.”

“Telegram has a social networking dimension. Our massive public one-to-many channels can have millions of subscribers each and are more like feeds. In many markets the owners of such channels display ads to money, sometimes using third-party ad platforms. The ads they post look like regular messages, and are often intrusive. We will fix this by introducing our own Ad Platform for public one-to-many channels.”

“Telegram will begin to generate , 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.”

Telegram recently launched Video calls as part of the activities marking seven years of operation this year.