According to sources close to the Telegram team, the popular encrypted messaging app is working on launching its own cryptocurrency and Blockchain platform named “The Open Network” or “Telegram Open Network” (TON). This is based on a supposedly improved version of the Blockchain technology.
Anton Rozenberg, a former employee of Telegram’s publishing division Telegraph, posted on Facebook an allegedly advertorial video for the new platform. He explained that the functionality of the TON platform would help those under oppressive governments, since the transfer of money would be natively enabled through the messaging app, serving to break the government’s control over citizens’ money.
According to Bloomberg, one of the main advantages of the TON platform is that it already has a very solid user base of approximately 180 million users, removing the multi-year bootstrap period that most new platforms have to go through.
Telegram is already immensely popular with the Blockchain community, as co-founder Pavel Durov proclaimed:
“Like right now, the entire Blockchain and cryptocurrency community just switched to Telegram.”
Telegram launched in 2013 after Pavel Durov teamed up with his brother. The main feature of Telegram is end-to-end encryption, making it extremely useful for users living under oppressive regimes. According to Bloomberg, Telegram currently accounts for 40% of Iran’s internet traffic as the Iranian government charged Durov of terrorism in his absence.
However, this is not uncharted territory for Durov. After founding Russia’s largest social network, VK, with his brother, Durav was not able to maintain control over the $3 billion dollar company. The Russian authorities ordered Durov to hand over all personal user information and after refusing to do so, he was forced to sell his stake in the company to one of Putin’s allies.
After being forced out of VK, Durov left Russia for good with approximately $300 million dollars and 2,000 Bitcoins, moving to St. Kitts and Nevis where he intends to become a Carribean nation citizen.
Durov insists Telegram is not for sale at any price, because his users’ privacy is too valuable to risk:
“Even for $20 billion, it’s not for sale. That’s a lifetime guarantee.”