Analysis

Telegram's Chosen Chain

TON recently entered the top ten tokens by market cap. What's going on?
David C David C Apr 26, 20243 min read
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Telegram's Chosen Chain

The-Open-Network blockchain, known as TON, has catapulted onto crypto’s main stage recently with some epic gains. What's going on with this thing?

TON was initially developed by the popular messaging app Telegram, but despite Telegram distancing itself from its core development over legal concerns, Telegram is continuing to embrace the chain and its token.

Recently, TON has experienced tremendous growth from both a price and activity perspective, with its token increasing a casual 170+% in the past three months while also seeing its active monthly wallets simultaneously 6x.

This momentum was easy to miss at first, but after the token flipped Cardano to enter the top 10 tokens by market cap, TON has become awfully hard to avoid. We know there's been wild price activity on the TON token but why are investors getting so jazzed on the opportunity? And is there more open road ahead?


TON's Telegram-Fueled Momentum

There's no way around it, much of the bullish sentiment around TON remains pinned on its close ties to the company behind its genesis.

This relationship was back on center stage just last week at Token2049, when Telegram's ever-photogenic founder, Pavel Durov, made a handful of announcements tied to developments in TON’s ecosystem. 

The most notable update featured the integration of Tether's USDT onto Telegram via TON. This integration aims to elevate Telegram as a peer-to-peer payments service thanks to TON, where users will interface with crypto without even knowing it. TON's integration with USDT allows it to compete with regionalized social media platforms like WeChat or Line, enabling global reach, removing the need for local payment gateways, and circumventing the payment restrictions imposed by tech companies like Google and Apple. This positions Telegram to potentially break through the regional barriers confining other super apps, all thanks to TON’s seamless, international transactions directly within the app.

Furthermore, Telegram recently started sharing 50% of ad revenue with channel owners paid out in Toncoin (TON). The solution exposes non-native audiences to crypto, showcasing the ease of payments on blockchains.

Incorporating TON directly into Telegram like this furthers initiatives like integrating USDT, enhancing the platform's appeal as a hub for digital payments. With Telegram's user base exceeding 900M and holding a valuation of over $30B, there's a lot of upside if TON even captures a minimal portion of this audience.

A Match Made in Heaven

Telegram’s user demographic and demand for peer-to-peer payments, as well as its popularity as a crypto social app, position it as an ideal conduit for onboarding users into Web3 through its ever-expanding blockchain functionality.

The platform's revenue share solution introduces Web2 creators to alternate income streams denominated natively in crypto. By doing this, it also advertises itself as an outlier amongst other platforms that do not share revenue with their users. 

Meanwhile, the rise of Telegram trading bots have already “crypto-fied” the platform, allowing it to become a one-stop shop for onchain activities — something that TON can benefit from and potentially enhance. 

Furthermore, Telegram already boasts its own version of Farcaster Frames (embeddable apps on Warpcast’s feed) called Mini Apps. Released in 2022, these Mini Apps prove ideal for exposing users to crypto through a familiar user interface that does not require them to download new applications. 

With these developments, Telegram and TON are well-equipped to spur crypto adoption, enhancing Web2 social experiences by augmenting them with blockchain-based features to provide services their users already desire.

The recent developments on the TON blockchain, particularly in conjunction with Telegram’s adoption, demonstrate a significant progression towards integrating blockchain functionality with mainstream applications. 

TON is shaping Telegram into a multi-dimensional platform that could answer the broadening demand for easy-to-use, mobile-first decentralized services. As it continues to align with Telegram’s extensive user base and existing functionality, TON may just end up modeling what the convergence of Web2 and Web3 can, and arguably should, look like.

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David C

Written by David C

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David is a writer/analyst at Bankless. Prior to joining Bankless, he worked for a series of early-stage crypto startups and on grants from the Ethereum, Solana, and Urbit Foundations. He graduated from Skidmore College in New York. He currently lives in the Midwest and enjoys NFTs, but no longer participates in them.

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