Can Telegram Save Decentralization?


Parel Durov, CEO of Telegram, announced they are working on a decentralized exchange and wallet today. Telegram is a cloud-based instant messaging app that was launched back in 2013 and has gained quite a devoted user base since then. This is not their first venture into blockchain technology. Telegram is one social media platform that has shown an affinity for the blockchain and its features by first developing the Telegram Open Network (TON) blockchain in 2018. 

Telegram has sold $50 million in usernames in less than a month through its blockchain-based auction platform, Fragment. Fragment is a free platform built on the TON blockchain where users can buy and sell NFTs. Durov said, “It took only 5 weeks and 5 people to put together Fragment – a fully decentralized auction platform. We were able to do this because Fragment is based on The Open Network, or TON – a blockchain platform that is fast and efficient enough to host popular applications.”

The Telegram Open Network (TON) 

TON is a fully decentralized layer-1 blockchain designed by Telegram to onboard billions of users. It boasts ultra-fast transactions, low fees, easy-to-use apps, and is environmentally friendly. In late 2018, the Durov brothers, founders of Telegram, released the first version of the Telegram Open Network whitepaper. By 2020, they were forced to cease development of TON and the network was handed over to the community to maintain it. Now, in 2022, TON mainnet is fully live and operational. 

After being silent on twitter since October 5th, today Durov posted their future plans:

What’s Your TG?

Telegram messenger is widely used in the crypto world. Community discussion groups are usually one of the first places crypto investors go for information. When an investor wants to ask questions of a founder or learn the vibe within a community, this is where they go. According to, Telegram was number 6 for downloads and ranked 7th for active monthly users worldwide. Discord is another popular community app for crypto users, but it doesn’t have quite the same global reach as Telegram. 

With the first glimpse of the possibility of integrating the TON blockchain into Telegram messenger, the potential for massive crypto onboarding is big news. The move seems to be spurred on by recent news of FTX and excessive centralization encroaching on the blockchain industry. Durov said, “The solution is clear: blockchain-based projects should go back to their roots – decentralization. Cryptocurrency users should switch to trustless transactions and self-hosted wallets.”

WhatsApp made some controversial changes to its privacy policy. The app now has freedom to integrate with Facebook and collect a lot of personal data. This is a no no in the crypto world. Telegram is not perfectly private either. They do have a secret chat option which offers more but there are downfalls in their privacy policy as well

Still, with 550 million monthly active users, Telegram has a reach far beyond what other crypto projects offer. “The time when the inefficiencies of legacy platforms justified centralization should be long gone,” Durov said. While Telegram messaging groups can be challenging to navigate and overwhelming at times, they offer freedom from censorship and open communication so often lacking in other areas. Crypto integration into such a widely used platform could lead to some interesting developments.

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