Telegram took the first step toward adding crypto payments by allowing its 550 million users to send and receive toncoin within the messaging app, according to a Tuesday tweet.
- While only toncoin (TON) can be sent within the app, users can also buy bitcoin through the "@wallet" bot.
- The aim is to make sending toncoin "feel like sending a text message," the TON Foundation, the steward of the cryptocurrency project, said Thursday. The bot has been used by 800,000 Telegram accounts already, it said.
- "We anticipate that this functionality will extend into consumer to business payments, so that people can easily acquire goods and services by sending toncoin via bots in the Telegram app," the foundation said.
- Twitter offers a similar facility, having added bitcoin payments over the Lightning Network for its Tips feature in September, which relies on third-party payments services like Jack Mallers’ Strike app. Last week payments giant Stripe said it will use Ethereum scaler Polygon to enable customers to pay in crypto, with Twitter the first company to try it out.
- The TON crypto project was abandoned by Telegram in August 2020 following a lawsuit from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
- The foundation recently raised $1 billion worth of TON from its users to advance its ecosystem.