NewsBusiness

Telegram CEO Proposes Auctioning Usernames, Links As NFTs

Inspired by the $3 million TON domain sale, he wants to “add a little bit of Web 3.0 to Telegram.”

3 min read

Telegram CEO Pavel Durov has proposed bringing its platform usernames and channel links to market as NFTs.

In a Monday post to his personal Telegram channel, which has 651,000 subscribers, Durov suggested that millions of reserved Telegram addresses could be auctioned as assets on the blockchain. 

“This would create a new platform where username holders could transfer them to interested parties in protected deals – with ownership secured on the blockchain via NFT-like smart contracts,” he explained.

Durov wrote that he was inspired by The Open Network (TON)’s recent sale of over 2,000 .ton domain names. The sale totaled 2,392,002 Toncoin, each of which trades for $1.29 at writing time, netting approximately $3 million.

The highest grossing name in the sale was wallet.ton, which alone sold for 215,250 Toncoin. The runner-up domain names, casino.ton and bank.ton, sold for 200,000 and 157,500 Toncoin, respectively.

"If TON has been able to achieve these results, imagine how successful Telegram with its 700 million users could be if we put reserved @ usernames, group and channel links for auction,” argued the CEO. “In addition to millions of catchy t.me addresses like @storm or @royal, all four-letter usernames could be made available for sale (@bank, @club, @game, @gift, etc.)."

"Other elements of the Telegram ecosystem, including channels, stickers or emoji, could later also become part of this marketplace."

TON was originally designed by Telegram, but control of the blockchain was handed over to The Open Network community in June 2020. The firm was forced to forfeit ownership as part of a settlement deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which filed a complaint against Telegram for allegedly conducting an unregistered securities sale for $1.7 billion in the form of GRAM tokens.

Nevertheless, Telegram is still closely involved with the TON blockchain. The app now lets users directly exchange Toncoin through bots that automate activities on the platform. Though Telegram allows for these bots, it doesn’t necessarily endorse them.

Durov says he believes that using TON for its own auction plan would be best given its scalability and speed. He’s also confident that the company can write “bullet-proof” smart contracts for the network since they were the ones that invented its programming language. 

“Let's see if we can add a little bit of Web 3.0 to Telegram in the coming weeks,” he concluded.

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