Telegram has always been interested in crypto and blockchain. A few years ago, by the way, the company started working on a cryptocurrency project as well as the associated blockchain, called TON.
But like the cryptocurrency imagined by Facebook and its partners, the Telegram project had to be abandoned, because it was blocked by the American authorities. In May 2020, Pavel Durov, the boss of Telegram, announced the end of the project.
The story does not end there, however, since if Telegram abandoned its blockchain, the work was taken over by other developers. And cryptocurrency finally came into existence. It is called Toncoin.
Officially, Telegram is no longer involved in the development of TON and Toncoin. But the project always had the support of Pavel Durov.
Pavel Durov wants to take inspiration from TON to integrate NFTs on Telegram
In a recent publication, the boss of Telegram also indicates that he was impressed by a recent operation carried out by TON, which sold domain names at auction (an address was sold at 215,250 Toncoin, or equivalent of $260,000).
And now, Pavel Durov wants to take inspiration from the feat achieved by the TON project to sell Telegram usernames, and links of groups or channels reserved for auction.
“If TON was able to achieve these results, imagine how successful Telegram could be with its 700 million users if we auctioned off reserved @usernames, group and channel links. In addition to millions of eye-catching t.me addresses like @storm or @royal, all four-letter usernames could be up for sale (@bank, @club, @game, @gift etc)”we read in his post.
To secure ownership of these addresses or usernames, Pavel Durov wants to use NFT-like smart contracts. A marketplace could then be set up to allow users to sell or buy these rare addresses. Moreover, Durov does not rule out the idea of using the same mechanism to exchange other elements such as channels, stickers, emojis, etc.
A marketplace that could be based on the TON blockchain
To build this marketplace, Telegram could use technology from TON, which the company developed, then abandoned due to problems with the US regulator.
“When it comes to scalability and speed, TON probably has the best technology to host such decentralized sales”explains Pavel Durov. “Our team can write bulletproof smart contracts for TON (since we invented their smart contract language), so we are keen to try TON as the underlying blockchain for our future market. »
Obviously, the development of this feature could go quickly, since the boss of Telegram suggests that we should have news of this new project within a few weeks.
As a reminder, TON has already developed a feature to send cryptocurrencies (Toncoin) via Telegram messaging. And now, Telegram plans to use the TON blockchain to build its marketplace for selling and buying usernames or addresses. In essence, though officially they are two separate entities, they are nonetheless still linked in one way or another.
As for Telegram, this new activity will allow the messaging service to build a new source of income, in addition to advertisements and its premium subscription.