Telegram has never fully given up its ties with decentralized technology, even after the U.S. SEC forced it to withdraw from its own TON blockchain project. The project was renamed from Telegram Open Network (TON) to The Open Network (TON), and development was continued by community members, officially separate, but retaining strong links with the Telegram ecosystem.
For example, last year, Fragment, a TON-based auction platform for trading Telegram usernames, was launched by Telegram founder Pavel Durov.
Тhis March, Telegram gained the functionality to store and transact cryptocurrency within its messaging platform via the independently developed @wallet bot (Wallet on Telegram). The bot enabled peer-to-peer (P2P) trading and the purchase of crypto using a bank card. Then in July, the scope of @wallet was further extended with merchant functionality, allowing them to accept retail payments in crypto directly within the Telegram app.
The interface of the crypto wallet is simple and fully integrated into Telegram messenger. Yet, it is custodial, meaning users do not control the keys for the digital assets they hold – a significant limitation for true decentralization adepts.
Now, Wallet on Telegram has announced a self-custodial crypto wallet 'TON Space' which will link users' Telegram accounts to their TON blockchain addresses, thus providing a true blockchain experience within the messenger app.
Furthermore, the press release promised decentralized applications (dApps) within Telegram Messenger, and other DeFi features such as management of NFT collectibles and token swaps. Allegedly developers will be able to build apps and onboard new users directly in Telegram.
Jordan Dunne, The Head of DeFi at Wallet shared the team's vision for the potential markets:
“The introduction of TON Space will allow blockchain developers to build Web3 services that feel like the intuitive mobile app experiences users have every day. Easy-to-use and all without ever leaving Telegram, with 800 million users every month, this opens up a staggering growth opportunity for builders.”
Telegram, is one of the most popular platforms in the crypto industry, used not only for direct messaging but also home to many informational channels on the topic. A recent study by Binance highlighted the growing popularity of Telegram crypto trading bots.
Currently, TON Space is in its beta phase, and the project is onboarding testers to put the service through its paces before the TON Space consumer launch.
Observers has joined the beta testers' Telegram Group to keep you informed about further developments.