Anyway, now you know why the insistence upon monopolising the service (no #federation, no alternative clients, thank you).
Oh, and the phone number thing? I'm guessing, but probably to link you to an #identity, or at least to a jurisdiction, for compliance reasons.
I'd have been OK with the founder saying “I'm doing this because I want to make money out of it, and I can't do that if I allow users to federate”, but true to his compulsive lying habits, he didn't do that. He went on some obfuscating bullshit about “progress” and whatnot when he was not busy insulting the #FDroid volunteers and so on. I first came across the guy about twenty years ago and already back then my first thought was: scum.
chaos.social – a Fediverse instance for & by the Chaos community