Making good on a promise made earlier this year, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov announced a new in-app currency on Thursday that will facilitate the purchase of digital goods and services in Telegram mini apps within a crypto-backed ecosystem. 

The in-app currency, Stars, will be available for purchase with fiat currency through in-app purchases via iOS and Android, or within Telegram itself. Stars can then be used to purchase digital products within Telegram mini apps, like Notcoin and Hamster Kombat, that live on the popular messaging app. 

“With fast, user-friendly payments for digital goods and services, the bot and mini app platform will allow new types of businesses to reach over 900 million potential customers inside Telegram,” the company said in a blog post today.

Soon, Durov said, developers on Telegram will be able to withdraw their Stars in Toncoin (TON), Telegram’s favored cryptocurrency on The Open Network. Those transfers will take place on Fragment, Telegram’s marketplace for in-app usernames and advertisements.


Developers and vendors will then be able to exchange their TON for other cryptocurrencies including USDT, the largest stablecoin in the world, via the Wallet bot on Telegram.

In April, Durov announced that Telegram was partnering with Tether, the issuer of USDT, in a move designed to greatly increase the attractiveness of doing commerce on the privacy-focused messaging app. 

He also revealed, onstage at the Token 2049 crypto conference in Dubai, that Telegram would soon support the in-app purchase of digital goods and services, with developers taking home 70% of revenue from such transactions.  


Today, Durov further elaborated that Telegram will subsidize ads purchased with Stars, in an effort to encourage the use of the currency and prevent the repeated collection of 30% commissions on new in-app Stars purchases by Apple and Google. 

“The recent mini app boom has already made Telegram the main destination to launch new apps,” Durov said. “Stars and ad subsidies bring this to a new level—unprecedented in the history of social media.”

Recently, crypto-related ventures within the Telegram ecosystem have been on something of a hot streak. Mini app Hamster Kombat, which announced plans to airdrop a TON-based token to players, has quickly become the crypto world’s latest gaming obsession.

Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency associated with Notcoin, a similar in-app Telegram game, surged past a $2 billion market capitalization earlier this week. NOT is also the largest gaming token launched so far in 2024.

All of that buzz appears to be boosting the price of Toncoin. Early Wednesday, TON hit its highest price ever, $7.76. The token now sits on the cusp of an $18 billion market cap, making it the 10th most valuable cryptocurrency on the market.

Edited by Andrew Hayward


The views and opinions expressed by the author are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.

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