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Telegram teases NFT-like marketplace

Reserved usernames, group, and channel links, as well as emojis and stickers, could be auctioned off on the messaging app’s blockchain-based marketplace.

Company CEO Pavel Durov shared the details on his Telegram channel. In a post, he said he wants to bring “a little bit” of web3 to Telegram.

It means that in a matter of weeks, catchy t.me addresses like @royal or @storm could be auctioned off on the marketplace within the app. Four-letter usernames, including @bank, @club, or @game, could be up for grabs too.

In the future, Telegram users could also sell channels, stickers, or emojis in protected deals on the marketplace. Buyers would secure the ownership of the items on the blockchain via NFT-like smart contracts.

Durov said he was “really impressed” by the recent success of TON, an open blockchain platform originally developed by Telegram. In an auction earlier this month, it sold over 2,000 domain names, with some fetching as much as $260,000.

“If TON has been able to achieve these results, imagine how successful Telegram with its 700 million users could be,” Durov said.

Telegram developed TON to launch its cryptocurrency, Gram. In 2020, the company had to abandon the project after a legal battle with an American regulator, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Even though TON continued independently and is not officially affiliated with Telegram, it does not seem like the company was ever ready to let it go. Durov said Telegram was “inclined” to use TON as the underlying blockchain for its future 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,” Durov said in a post.

Blockchain-based domain naming systems like the Ethereum Name Service have seen a surge in popularity recently, and Telegram already allows users to send and receive toncoin, a TON-based cryptocurrency, directly through chats within the app.

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