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Merchants on Telegram Can Now Accept Crypto Payments Directly in App

Telegram’s Wallet bot, which is powered by the TON blockchain, has just launched the functionality for merchants to accept retail payments in tether, bitcoin and TON tokens, directly within the app.

Telegram wallet merchant payment

Telegram users can now pay for goods and services offered by merchants on the app with cryptocurrency, thanks to a recent update to The Open Network’s (TON) Wallet bot. The new Wallet Pay service will allow merchants to instantly accept payments in tether (USDT), bitcoin (BTC) and toncoin (TON).

The @wallet bot was initially launched on the Telegram app by the TON Foundation in April last year. At the time it enabled users to buy both bitcoin and toncoin using fiat, and to send and receive TON to and from other users.

Tether compatibility was added in March of this year, with users able to buy, sell, send, receive and swap the stablecoin, and bitcoin was given full trade, transfer and swap status (having previously been limited to simply purchase) the following month.

The new Wallet Pay functionality is available immediately in all jurisdictions supported by the Wallet bot. This covers the vast majority of countries, with the notable exception of the United States and those blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which includes such territories as Iran, Myanmar and North Korea.

As some of the countries that the Wallet bot supports do not allow cryptocurrency payments, TON Foundation is putting the responsibility for compliance on local merchants, telling Cointelegraph:

“Businesses should decide if they are allowed to do business within their jurisdiction before applying to make use of Wallet Pay.”

The Open Network blockchain was initially developed by Telegram founder Pavel Durov under the name Telegram Open Network. It was one of the first high-profile casualties of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s still ongoing war on crypto, and its development by Telegram was abandoned in 2020.

However, as the project was open-source its community took over the reins as the TON Foundation, and development has continued as The Open Network, although this is now a completely separate entity from Telegram.

The Wallet bot runs on the TON blockchain and is based on the Telegram Web Apps open protocol. It is a custodial wallet, and there are fees for making crypto payments and for withdrawing cryptocurrency from the wallet.

In February this year we Observed Elon Musk revealing more detail of his plans to implement a payments solution in Twitter. While this was not pegged to include crypto functionality at launch it was hinted that certain tokens may be supported in a later version. However, to date there has been no further news on the Twitter payment service, either for fiat or crypto.