The TON Foundation, which runs the Ton cryptocurrency project, has introduced a new feature that allows users to buy its native cryptocurrency, Toncoin, within its messaging app, the Foundation announced via a Twitter post.
The Foundation also said that transactions on the platform will not involve any transaction fees. Telegram users will have to add the @wallet bot to their attachment menus in order to send crypto to other users using Toncoin. They can also purchase Bitcoin through the bot, the TON Foundation said. Nearly 800,000 users have already used the bot, it said.
The messaging platform became the fifth most downloaded social media app in the world earlier this month, according to research firm Sensor Tower. It has over 550 million users globally.
Reel back to 2018, the messaging platform started working on the TON blockchain in 2018 and sought to raise $1.7 billion through by issuing tokens. Soon after, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Telegram calling it an illegal token offering. After nearly a year-long fight with the SEC, Telegram quit the case, paid a penalty of $18.5 million and said it would no longer support the project.
The company's chief executive, Pavel Durov, has endorsed the separate spin-off token, Toncoin, that was run independently from Telegram.
“We anticipate that this functionality will extend into consumer to business payments, so that people can easily acquire goods and services by sending Toncoin via bots in the Telegram app,” the Foundation further added.
The new payments service could open doors for a global crypto payments service through the messaging app. Some in the crypto industry are working on ways to make crypto payments mainstream as a cheap and fast alternative to traditional payments, especially for cross-border transactions. But several of them are facing challenges to build a viable product to enable crypto payments. Companies like Facebook parent Meta, for example, initially thought of building such a service, but the company reportedly abandoned the idea earlier this year.
Telegram already has a global user base and product that could make crypto payments a mainstream product quickly, believe experts. In fact, the Ton Foundation recently said it has raised $1 billion from users for the project.