Telegram’s 550 Million Users Can Now Send Crypto Via Chat

April 30, 2022, 10:15 AM AEST (updated May 02, 2022)

Users of the instant messaging app Telegram can now easily buy, send and receive crypto in-chat using the app’s newly released wallet bot:

The wallet bot, which runs on the Telegram-designed TON blockchain, simplifies crypto transfers between Telegram users. Initially, users will be limited to transferring Toncoin (TON) only, although they will be able to purchase both TON and Bitcoin (BTC):

TON’s price gained around 18 percent following the announcement, jumping from US$1.92 to US$2.28. At the time of writing TON was holding on to most of those gains, with the price sitting at US$2.25.

Toncoin to AUD chart. Source: CoinMarketCap.com

How Does the Wallet Bot Work?

The new wallet bot allows Telegram users to buy crypto (TON or BTC) in-app using a bank card and transfer TON to other users. Once users have added the wallet bot to their attachment menu, they can use the wallet button to send TON to any user they’re chatting to. 

While the bot only allows for user-to-user transfers for now, the TON Foundation expects its functionality will expand to include consumer-to-business payments in future.

The addition of crypto transfers to Telegram follows a recent trend by social media and messaging apps towards implementing crypto payments systems. Twitter has added support for Bitcoin and Ethereum tipping in the past few months and the Meta-owned messaging app WhatsApp has been trialling crypto transfers using its new Novi wallet since December.

TON’s History with Telegram

The TON blockchain started life in 2018 as a Telegram project and was initially known as the Telegram Open Network. However, after a legal battle with the US Securities and Exchange Commission over the sale of unregistered securities, Telegram gave up control of the project in 2020 to the community driven, open-source TON Foundation. In 2022, TON changed its name to The Open Network to highlight its separation from Telegram and its open-source nature.

According to the TON Foundation, the TON blockchain is designed to be a fully decentralised, ultra-fast, low-fee and environmentally friendly blockchain that can meet the needs of large-scale apps such as Telegram, which currently boasts around 550 million users.

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