The space of messaging platforms integrated with cryptocurrencies, which has seen the arrival of major players in the form of Kik with its Kin ICO and more recently Signal with Mobilecoin, might be set for even more competition with rumors of Telegram planning to launch their own cryptocurrency integrated with their messaging app.
On Thursday, December 17, Anton Rozenberg, former Special Projects Director at Telegram, posted on Facebook about the project. He reports the new platform will be called TON or “Telegram Open Network” and posted a promotional video for it, which asserts that TON will be made available in 2018 and describes it as a fast, scalable and user-friendly blockchain platform.
The TON network is reported to use a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, along with features such as “Infinite Sharding”, “Hypercube Routing” and “Direct payment channels”.
Cointelegraph reports that the currency of TON will be called “Gram” and that the platform will be integrated with popular messaging apps, apart from Telegram itself. Telegram has 180 million users at present and if other popular messaging services are roped in, the potential user base of TON could be in the impressive hundreds of millions at launch.
Rozenberg further goes on to say that this could be part of a plan by Pavel Durov, the CEO and founder of Telegram, to create hype and raise funding for the company through an ICO.
Durov is an early investor in Bitcoin and in an interview with Bloomberg earlier this month cited Telegram’s burgeoning community of blockchain and cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Durov went on to talk about his intention of raising funding for Telegram’s expansion, but guaranteed to his users that he would not accept buy-in offers such as the ones he’s received from Silicon Valley on the order of $5 billion.
Even for $20 billion, it’s not for sale,” he said. “That’s a lifetime guarantee.
While an ICO would almost certainly help the company acquire the funding it needs, there are unanswered questions which persist regarding how the platform can be monetized to provide incentives for token holders without affecting the integrity of the platform and the privacy of the users.