As a result of a recent upgrade to the wallet bot, users of the Telegram app are now able to purchase and sell cryptocurrencies without leaving the application. The wallet bot was developed by The Open Network (TON, formerly Telegram Open Network) in April. The bot initially enabled users to buy, sell and trade Toncoin (TON) within the Telegram app, but a new update has added a fully functioning cryptocurrency wallet to the application.
An independent team of TON developers created the wallet bot to simplify crypto transactions for Telegram users. A representative from the TON Foundation told Cointelegraph, “The creation of the wallet bot is handled by an independent development team, and we are certainly happy that more and more projects are choosing TON as the basis for creating new products,” continuing to say:
“TON is intended for millions of users, and one of our goals is to make the use of blockchain no more complicated than using applications that users are used to.”
The wallet bot also serves as a fiat on-ramp, allowing users to buy TON using their credit cards within the Telegram app. The currently supported fiat currencies for buying and selling Toncoin are United States dollars, euros, Ukrainian hryvnia, Belarusian rubles and Kazakhstani tenge.
Regarding transactions within Telegram, the exchange service that facilitates them also functions as a guarantee and resolves any required conflicts that may arise between the two parties involved in the transaction. The other party may carry out the transactions in complete anonymity; nevertheless, users must provide the bot with their cell phone numbers before participating in any cryptocurrency-related activities made accessible by the application.
The wallet bot doesn’t charge any fees for buying crypto through Telegram, but sellers will be charged a commission fee equivalent to 0.9% of the selling price for each complete transaction. Currently, the app can only be used to purchase Toncoin (TON) and Bitcoin (BTC). However, the TON Foundation plans to expand the number of cryptocurrencies available for purchase. In addition, in order to transfer crypto through the peer-to-peer functionality on Telegram, users need to register with The Open Network.
When transferring crypto to another person, users send the coins to the recipient’s Telegram handle instead of their address. The TON Foundation representative highlighted this feature, saying, “The @wallet bot team is making great strides in this direction, as you can now buy, exchange, and send Toncoin to your contacts without leaving Telegram. There is no need for long addresses or special applications. We think that the future lies in projects like this.”
History of Telegram and The Open Network
Telegram Messenger grew massively in popularity within the crypto community due to its encrypted messaging and ability to create group chats. The bot functionality also makes automating tasks within the groups and chats easier. For example, bots can ban users, respond to questions and link users to useful resources for a project.
In 2017, Telegram began monetization plans for the application since it did not use ads. As part of this plan, Telegram Open Network, or The Open Network, was founded by Telegram founders Pavel and Nikolai Durov, and the white paper was released in January 2018. The Open Network was developed as a platform for decentralized apps and an alternative payment processing network to major networks like Visa.
To raise funds for the development of TON, Telegram held a private sale for the GRAM, which investors could exchange for the TON token when launched. However, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission would later class the token sale as an unregistered securities offering. As a result, Telegram decided to end its active involvement with TON in 2020.
On June 11, 2020, Telegram and the SEC reached a deal in which Telegram agreed to reimburse $1.22 billion as a termination fee in GRAM purchase agreements and pay an $18.5 million penalty to the SEC. Telegram also agreed to provide the SEC prior notice if the company planned to sell any digital assets during the next three years.
On May 7, 2020, Free TON was launched as an independent venture to continue the development of the Telegram Open Network, using the freely available source code. The community later grew to over 30,000 members by January 2021, and the Telegram team later transferred the ton.org domain and GitHub repository to the TON Foundation by August 4, 2021.
The TON foundation has assumed responsibility for the Telegram token’s underlying cryptocurrency (TON). Before this, users of the apps collaborated on a fundraising effort for the cause. As a result, they contributed more than $1 billion to the growth of the TON ecosystem, which was made possible by their donations.
What the future holds for TON and Telegram
It is possible that the TON Foundation’s new Telegram bot update may pave the way for a global cryptocurrency payments service. Furthermore, since the app has over 500 million active users globally, it can act as a catalyst for further crypto adoption if the wallet bot proves to be popular.
When asked about the future of Telegram and The Open Network, a TON Foundation representative told Cointelegraph, “Telegram is a user-friendly platform for everyone in the Web3 world — both for communication and developing products using their disruptive technologies. Furthermore, the open platform allows developers to create working products with real-world use cases that can be deployed in the app.”
“The wallet bot, based on TON, is a great example of this. There are also many services on Telegram that already use TON, such as donate, mobile and others,” they stated, adding, “A significant development is the launch of the Telegram username auction, which is a great demonstration of how the simplicity of tokenization on TON can open up many real-world examples of the use of blockchain technology.”
As well as the wallet bot, The Open Network has developed additional Telegram bots that serve different purposes. The donate bot allows creators to post messages that accept donations via special action buttons that will facilitate a payment process within the Telegram application. The process works by a user contacting the donate bot and following the instructions.
The user will also have to add the bot as an administrator on the channel and submit payout information so they can receive the donations. The mobile bot allows users to access the internet when Wi-Fi is unavailable. The Telegram username auction allows users to purchase and auction off their Telegram handles for TON tokens.
The recent update to Telegram’s wallet bot can open up a wider range of the public to using cryptocurrency. It can also further solidify Telegram’s reputation as one of the go-to apps for blockchain-based projects seeking to build a community, especially if additional tokens are added to the platform. Telegram already has a lot of the crypto community using the application, and the ability to buy and transfer crypto could bring non-crypto users into the market.