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Telegram goes galactic with "stars": New in-app currency for digital purchases

Telegram will subsidise ads bought with its new "Stars" currency to incentivise purchases despite the standard 30 percent in-app purchase fees on Apple and Google platforms

Shashank Bhardwaj
Published: Jun 7, 2024 02:09:09 PM IST
Updated: Jun 7, 2024 02:19:04 PM IST

Telegram goes galactic with "stars": New in-app currency for digital purchasesImage: Shutterstock
Telegram has introduced a new in-app payment system called "Stars" to support its growing ecosystem. Available on both iOS and Android, Telegram Stars allows users to make purchases within the platform's mini-apps. This functionality promotes a hardy internal economy while adhering to Apple and Google's digital product sale guidelines. Additionally, users can convert their Stars to TON, the native token of The Open Network, through the Fragment exchange.

In April, at the Token 2049 conference in Dubai, Telegram announced a collaboration with Tether, the leading stablecoin issuer (USDT). This partnership aims to make Telegram an even more attractive platform for business transactions.  It's also exciting to see Telegram's upcoming launch of in-app purchases for digital goods and services, with a generous 70 percent revenue share going directly to developers.

It's worth noting that Telegram is innovating its approach to in-app purchases. Unlike the typical 30 percent commission charged by Apple and Google, Telegram has announced plans to subsidise advertising purchased with their new in-app currency, Telegram Stars. This move could significantly reduce overall fees for developers.

A recent Telegram post by CEO Pavel Durov highlighted the economic benefits of developing their platform. Durov suggested that developers reinvesting Telegram Stars in app promotion could see commission fees effectively eliminated. Compared to traditional mobile app stores, this competitive advantage could incentivise developers to prioritise Telegram's platform. Additionally, the post mentioned the ability for Mini App creators to convert Telegram Stars to Toncoin through Fragment.

Telegram's Bot Platform has expanded significantly with the addition of in-app purchases for digital goods and services. This move expands the Telegram ecosystem, which already has over 400 million monthly users actively using bots and mini-apps.

Users can now purchase Telegram Stars directly within the app, opening up a new revenue stream for bots and mini-app developers.  These Stars can be used to buy a variety of digital products and even in-game items, creating a more engaging user experience within the Telegram ecosystem.

Telegram Stars can be easily purchased with real money directly within the app, on iOS, Android, or even through Telegram itself. This opens up a new way for users to buy digital goods within Telegram's mini-apps, like Notcoin and Hamster Kombat. 

One shining example is Notcoin, which has exploded in popularity, attracting 35 million users within five months of launch.  This "tap-to-earn" app allows users to acquire NOT tokens by completing social challenges, creating a fun and engaging user experience.

About 36 hours earlier, TON set a new all-time high price of $7.65 but has since cooled off to $7.55. However, its $18.2 billion market cap is still $7 billion off from its $25.2 billion peak set on April 12.

Shashank is the founder of yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist.
Twitter: @bhardwajshash