Three years after popular chat app Telegram Messenger ditched its blockchain platform Telegram Open Network (TON) – owing to its prolonged legal dispute with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – the duo have congregated again.
Telegram, the operator of the 800 million-strong messenger app, has launched a self-custodian crypto wallet for the platform’s users—in a move that promises to cement its position in the crypto community and has the potential to attract the broader public into the ever-evolving crypto market.
Behind the evolution of Telegram’s self-custodian wallet, which is being referred to as ‘TON Space’, is the Open Network Foundation, which was the brainchild of Telegram founders but later separated after the SEC filed a lawsuit against Telegram in 2019 over $1.7 billion raised through the project’s initial coin offering (ICO) via a token known as Grams.
Telegram and TON congregated at Singapore’s Token2049 crypto conference to unveil the new crypto wallet, which will be rolled out worldwide in November. However, Telegram users in “the U.S and some other countries” will not get access to the wallet feature—which can be found in Telegram’s settings.
“Wallet users can effortlessly store, send, and receive digital currencies, all on a single autonomous platform within the familiar interface of Telegram Messenger,” a press release on Todayq News reads.
The TON Foundation also said that projects built on TON will be given first preference to the messaging app’s advertising arm, called Telegram Ads.
Telegram’s decision to exclude the US and other countries from the crypto wallet rollout comes in the face of a series of crackdowns on the crypto industry. In the US, the SEC has taken legal action against several crypto trading platforms—including Binance and Coinbase. Meanwhile, China continues to clamp down on crypto mining.
Similar to billionaire Elon Musk’s vision to turn X (formerly Twitter) into “the everything app,” one that allows offers users a bunch of services, including making payments and watch videos, and chat with pals, Telegram co-founder and CEO Pavel Durov saw TON as a way to send crypto within chats and monetize the messaging app.
In December last year, Durov said Telegram was planning to build decentralized exchanges and non-custodial wallets, enabling people to use and trade their crypto holdings safely. “This way, we can fix the wrongs caused by the excessive centralization, which let down hundreds of thousands of cryptocurrency users.”