Telegram founder suggests 'NFT-like smart contracts' to auction usernames
Following the success of the auction TON conducted, Pavel Durov is looking into taking it a step further with Telegram
By Shashank Bhardwaj
Pavel Durov, the founder of messaging application Telegram, is looking into the idea of a marketplace that could utilise “NFT-like smart contracts” to auction highly-sought after usernames following the success of domain name auctions by The Open Network (TON). The project launched in mid-July, allowing users to assign human-readable names to crypto wallets, smart contracts and websites through the TON DNS service.
He spoke out about this idea in his personal Telegram group, Durvov’s Channel, on Tuesday. He was “really impressed by the success of the auction TON recently conducted for their domain/wallet names.” He went on, “Imagine how successful Telegram with its 700 million users could be if we put reserved @ usernames, group and channel links for auction.”
According to Durov, Telegram could use similar technology to unveil a new marketplace that could be used for trading popular commodities such as “catchy t.me addresses like @storm or @royal, and all four-letter usernames:”
It appears that Durov has laid out long term plans for this project and seems hopeful about its future. “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,” he added.
Going back to where his inspiration came from, the auctions on TON DNS went live on 30 July and the “.ton” variant allowed users to access decentralised applications in a simpler way, getting rid of the need to type complicated strings of numbers and letters from their wallet addresses.
The TON network uses the FunC programming language to power the TON Virtual machine as well as to launch specific smart contracts. Telegram would probably follow suit if they were to enter this sphere and launch NFTs. The messaging app is not his only big venture since, back in 2018, Durov, along with his team, initially developed TON (formerly known as Telegram Open Network). It was meant to function as a digital payments platform in tandem with Telegram, but an unregistered preliminary sale of $1.7 billion of Gram tokens meant that it ran into serious troubles with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
While a long-winded court battle resulted in Durov stepping away in 2020, the project saw the light of day again when open source developers brought it back under the name of The Open Network.
The fact that he was the brains behind the initial project makes it no surprise that Durov is looking to get involved again. “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,” he wrote.
Reportedly, the price of the native token ‘Toncoin’ behind The Open Network also surged since Durov's discussion, now sitting at $1.33 after a 14.70 percent uprise in the past 24 hours.
The writer is the founder at yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash
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