Telegram Steps Into Crypto with TON Space Wallet Integration  

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Telegram, the globally renowned messaging platform boasting 800 million monthly active users, is diving headfirst into the cryptocurrency realm with the launch of its self-custodial crypto wallet, TON Space. This move aims to cement Telegram’s position within the burgeoning crypto community that has sprung from its chat platform and introduce the masses to digital assets.

Rising from an Abandoned Project  

Jointly announced by Telegram and the TON Foundation during the Token2049 crypto conference in Singapore, TON Space promises to change how users engage with cryptocurrencies. This development comes in response to the crypto community’s growing preference for self-custodial wallets, offering users greater control over their digital assets.

TON Space isn’t a product of Telegram itself. In 2020, Telegram abandoned its Telegram Open Network (TON) blockchain project after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) took legal action against its initial coin offering. In response, open-source developers and blockchain enthusiasts formed The Open Network Foundation (TON Foundation). They have been actively supporting the development of The Open Network (TON), the blockchain underpinning numerous Telegram applications, including the self-custodial TON Space wallet.

Launching in November but NOT in the US  

Developed by The Open Platform (TOP), a company encompassing a wallet development team and venture-building division known as TOP Labs, TON Space is set to launch globally in November. Importantly, users won’t need to undergo wallet registration to access this feature. The reason is simple: it is an extension of Telegram’s existing custodial wallet, which already has three million registered users. However, certain jurisdictions, such as the U.S., are temporarily excluded due to regulatory concerns amid increased crackdowns on the crypto industry in these regions.

TON Space represents just one facet of a growing list of third-party mini apps hosted within Telegram. The platform is evolving into what can only be described as a “super app,” drawing inspiration from WeChat’s model. However, Telegram’s approach diverges by embracing decentralized payments and enabling developers to create crypto-compatible mini apps by integrating with the TON Space wallet, rather than relying on a centralized payment solution.

New Crypto Wallet Could Help Unbanked Population  

The advantage of incorporating a crypto wallet within Telegram lies in its potential to introduce a vast user base. These users include many unbanked populations in developing countries. A self-custodial wallet grants developers control over the flow of digital assets within their projects. This helps enable innovative scenarios like private communities where access requires NFT-based keys, all managed within the user’s self-custodial wallet.

While various crypto wallets exist outside the Telegram ecosystem, they often face challenges related to user onboarding and distribution. Telegram seeks to address these issues by granting priority access for TON projects and partners to its global advertising platform, helping to promote decentralized apps.

Ripple Effects  

Similarly, encrypted chat app Signal has also dipped its toes into crypto payments through a third-party partnership with MobileCoin. While the two solutions may appear competitive, they cater to distinct user bases; with Signal lacking the platform and community to foster social interactions and discussions about crypto within its app.

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