Pavel Durov, founder of Telegram, does not despair of riding the blockchain wave and making the company a leader in the crypto industry. Although the initial plan to convert Telegram in a blockchain-based platform with its own cryptocurrency entitled TON thwarted by the resistance of world regulators, Durov seems to have decided to enter the blockchain industry from the other side - via smart-contracts and NFT.
Writing in his official Telegram channel, Durov announced plans to launch sales of much-in-demand usernames, group and channel links, with ownership secured on the TON blockchain via NFT-like smart-contracts.
“This would create a new platform where username holders could transfer them to interested parties in protected deals – with ownership secured on the blockchain via NFT-like smart-contracts. Other elements of the Telegram ecosystem, including channels, stickers or emoji, could later also become part of this marketplace.
When it comes to scalability and speed, TON probably has the best technology to host such decentralized sales. Our team can write bullet-proof smart contracts for TON (since it was us who invented its smart-contract language), so we are inclined to try out TON as the underlying blockchain for our future marketplace.”
TON is a blockchain fully decentralized platform launched as a spin-off of an originally known Telegram Open Network designed by the Telegram team. First announced in 2018, Telegram Open Network raised more than $2 billion via successful private sales of Gram, TON's native token. However, in 2019, TON attracted attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The regulator claimed that Gram looked like an unregistered security, while its initial purchasers acted like underwriters. After tough court fight, in May, 2020, Durov announced that Telegram was leaving the project and started the refund process that extended until 2021.
However, TON continued to exist as an open-source software project, with its code publicly available on GitHub. Since 2020, the TON project underwent significant updates, building up a strong community of TON followers. TON is still focused on the integration with Telegram app. TON holders can send crypto to their friends or other wallets in just a few seconds without leaving the Telegram app. The native cryptocurrency of the TON blockchain is Toncoin.
In his recent post, Durov explained that his decision was inspired by the success of the TON domain and wallet names auction and fueled by his desire to "add a little bit of Web 3.0 to Telegram in the coming weeks." A few days earlie, the TON team announced "very promising" upcoming months in its official Twitter account: