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The Founder of Telegram Proposes Using “NFT-Like Smart Contracts” to Auction Usernames

The founder of Telegram stated: “Imagine how successful Telegram with its 700 million users could be if we put reserved usernames, group and channel links for auction.”

The creator of the encrypted messaging service Telegram, Pavel Durov, has proposed the idea of a market place that would employ “NFT-like smart contracts” to auction off popular usernames.

Durov made the remark in response to The Open Network (TON), a layer-1 blockchain that was first created by the Telegram team, and its “success” in conducting domain name auctions. In the middle of July, the blockchain project introduced the TON DNS service, which enables users to give human-readable names to websites, smart contracts, and crypto wallets.

He stated on Tuesday that he was “really impressed by the success of the auction TON recently conducted for their domain/wallet names” in a message to his personal Telegram channel called Durov’s Channel.

“Imagine how popular Telegram, which boasts 700 million users, could become if we placed reserved @ usernames, group, and channel connections up for auction,” the speaker continued.

Durov proposed that Telegram make advantage of related technology to launch a new market where users could purchase and sell “catchy t.me addresses like @storm or @royal, and all four-letter user names:”

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

On July 30, the first TON DNS auctions went live. Like the “.eth” domains offered by the Ethereum Name Service (ENS), users may now access decentralized applications without having to write a large string of characters from their wallet addresses.

For the TON Virtual Machine and to launch certain smart contracts on the blockchain, the TON network uses the FunC programming language. If Telegram were to introduce NFTs, they would probably be built using this specification.

Given that Durov and his colleagues created TON, originally known as the Telegram Open Network, alongside the messaging app back in 2018, a similar integration for Telegram would probably be pretty simple.

“Our team can write bullet-proof smart contracts for TON (since it was us who invented its smart-contract language), so we are inclined to try out TON as the underlying blockchain for our future marketplace.”

TON was initially created as a platform for Telegram’s online payments. As a result of an unregistered preliminary sale of $1.7 billion worth of Gram tokens, it soon encountered issues with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Midway through 2020, Durov withdrew from the project to concentrate on Telegram after losing the legal battle with the SEC. Since then, the project has been resurrected by open-source developers under the name The Open Network.

The proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus process used by the TON network offers a number of features, including staking, NFTs, and decentralized apps. Toncoin (TON), the company’s native asset, has increased 14.70% in value over the previous 24 hours, according to data from CoinMarketCap, and is currently trading at $1.33.

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