Pavel Durov, the mastermind behind the Telegram chat app and messaging platform, has suggested that Telegram may one day launch a blockchain technology-powered marketplace for usernames, emojis, and other app-based assets. And Durov has also praised the efforts of the TON network – a blockchain project built from the ruins of his own vision of a global stablecoin.
In a post on his own Telegram channel, Durov wrote that such a marketplace would ensure that username ownership was “secured on the blockchain” via “non-fungible token (NFT)-like smart-contracts.”
“In addition to millions of catchy t.me addresses like @storm or @royal, all four-letter usernames could be made available for sale (@bank, @club, @game, @gift etc).”
He claimed that “other elements of the Telegram ecosystem, including channels, stickers, or emojis,” could “later also become part of this marketplace.”
Although he did not commit to anything and maintained a hypothetical tone throughout, Durov suggested that TON and its native toncoin (TON) token, might well prove the best choice of network and currency for such a marketplace.
“When it comes to scalability and speed, TON probably has the best technology to host such decentralized sales. Our team can write bullet-proof smart contracts for TON (since it was us who invented its smart-contract language). So we are inclined to try out TON as the underlying blockchain for our future marketplace.”
He further teased:
“Let’s see if we can add a little bit of [Web3] to Telegram in the coming weeks.”
Although TON shares the same acronym as Durov’s original project – which was scuppered at the eleventh hour by American regulators back in 2020 – it no longer stands for Telegram Open Network.
Instead, it has been renamed by the breakaway developers who have repurposed the project and now call it “The Open Network.” Instead of the gram, the intended native coin of Telegram’s TON project, it makes use of toncoin.
Initially, Durov was dismissive of the project and warned followers that it was in no way associated with Telegram. But in recent months, he has apparently become something of a convert.
Durov wrote that he was “really impressed by the success” of the recent TON domain names auction and asked his followers to “imagine how successful Telegram, with its 700 million users could be” if it were to “put reserved usernames, group and channel links” up for auction.
Durov is known as the Russian Mark Zuckerberg, although he no longer lives in the country and was granted both French and UAE citizenship last year. He founded the tech empire now known as VK (aka VKontakte) in 2006, before leaving the firm and launching Telegram.