Crypto Using Telegram? Here’s What You Need To Know

On April 26, the TON Foundation announced a new bot that enables cryptocurrency transactions using The Open Network’s token TON inside the Telegram app.

This new feature will benefit the more than 550 million users using Telegram, who will be able to send and receive TON without zero fees benefiting from the blockchain once envisioned by Telegram.

The feature launched on April 28, the dayTON will be available for purchase on OKX, a Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange previously known as OKEx.

The TON Foundation, a decentralized layer-1 blockchain designed by Telegram, has added a new crypto payments feature to the messaging app, the organization announced on April 26. The feature allows users to send Toncoin, the organization’s cryptocurrency, to other Telegram users without any transaction fees.

With this new feature, Telegram has the potential to compete against other social media platforms such as Twitter, which since last year has been supporting tips in Bitcoin and Ethereum and recently partnered with Stripe to add payment features via the Coinbase-created stablecoin, USD Coin (USDC). Other social media sites with similar approaches are Reddit and even Whatsapp, with its fiat-powered Whatsapp Pay feature available in Brazil and India.

“With this service, you’ll no longer need to enter long wallet addresses and wait for confirmations,” the Foundation said in a tweet announcing the feature. The feature is similar to the Bitcoin payments function that Elon Musk’s Twitter has been offering through its Tip Jar feature since September last year. Twitter, however, uses the Stripe platform for such payments.

“We anticipate that this functionality will extend into the consumer to business payments so that people can easily acquire goods and services by sending toncoin via bots in the Telegram app,” the TON Foundation said.

Toncoin platform boasts over 52 million transactions so far, with over 486,000 wallets, according to the TON Foundation’s website. The Toncoin token was issued in 2019-20 when the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) blocked Telegram’s $1.7 billion token issuances for an initial coin offering (ICO).

“Our emergency action today is intended to prevent Telegram from flooding the US markets with digital tokens that we allege were unlawfully sold,” said Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, at the time. “We allege that the defendants have failed to provide investors with information regarding Grams and Telegram’s business operations, financial condition, risk factors, and management that the securities laws require,” he added.

The TON Foundation was formed by members of the blockchain community who wanted to keep Telegram’s crypto efforts alive. In fact, Telegram’s chief executive Pavel Durov, announced in May 2020, that the company was going to abandon its blockchain project altogether after the battle with the SEC.

“Today is a sad day for us here at Telegram. We are announcing the discontinuation of our blockchain project,” Durov wrote on his Telegram channel. The TON Foundation, however, had raised $1 billion worth of Toncoin earlier this month.

The Telegram platform is said to have over 550 million users so far, and the TON Foundation’s bot on the messaging app has over 800,000 users.