Telegram users can now send each other Tether’s stablecoin. In a Wednesday notification, the messaging app informed its customers that the wallet function now supports USDT-TRON, better known as TRC20.
The wallet bot is a function available on Telegram but was developed by independent developers—not Telegram.
USDT is the third-largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin and Ethereum, with a market cap of $78 billion. It is also a stablecoin, meaning its value is backed by a stable asset—in this case, the U.S. dollar.
USDT runs on a number of different blockchains but for now, Telegram will only support the asset on Tron—TRC20.
Tron is the network behind the 15th biggest cryptocurrency by market cap: its native token, TRX. Tron is working to be the foundation behind the decentralized Internet. Using its blockchain is low cost and high speed.
But users can also use stablecoins on its network. “You can now buy, swap, and make P2P trades with Tether USDT (TRC20),” the wallet developers' announcement said, referencing that “You can also directly send USDT to your friends with no transaction fees.”
Telegram introduced crypto to its app back in 2018, when it launched its Telegram Open Network (TON). The project was abandoned in 2020 by Telegram after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said the initial coin offering for the project was illegal.
Despite Telegram stepping away, the project was kept alive by the TON Foundation. Today, users can still buy, sell and send its Toncoin (TON) asset on Telegram’s app.
Telegram also allowed users to buy Bitcoin via its app, and send Bitcoin to other users or Bitcoin wallets. It can’t be cashed out, however—only exchanged for TON, which is the 23rd biggest cryptocurrency by market cap.
Tether’s USDT changes hands more than any other digital asset: its current 24-hour trading volume stands at over $45 billion, according to CoinGecko.
The token is used to turn Bitcoin—or any other cryptocurrency—into dollars, euros, or yen on an exchange quickly. It can then be cashed out into a traditional bank account afterward.
Editor's note: This article was updated on March 23, 2023, at 10:30 am ET to reflect that the wallet bot was developed by an independent third party. A previous edition reported that Telegram had built the bot.