Pavel Durov, the founder of the encrypted messaging app Telegram, has floated the idea of a marketplace that could use “NFT-like smart contracts” to auction highly sought-after usernames.
Elements of the Telegram ecosystem to be part of the market
Telegram has been one of the most sought-after messaging platforms in recent years. In addition to ease of access, Telegram has a few other qualities, including encryption of messages between users.
Pavel Durov noted the success of decentralized domain names recently proposed by the TON Foundation. As a reminder, the Open Network (TON) is a former project of Telegram, which planned to offer its own blockchain. But the company met with very strong hostility from regulators, and had been forced to abandon the project in 2020.
But it had been taken over by the community, which has been working on it without affiliation with Telegram ever since. Last July, it proposed decentralized domain names in .ton, similar to the domain names offered by the Ethereum Name Service. This makes it possible to link a username to a wallet address, and thus to access decentralized applications.
He thus congratulated the TON network, and felt that this was a particularly interesting direction to take for Telegram:
If TON was able to have these results, imagine how successful Telegram could be with its 700 million users. We could preserve usernames, groups and chat channels,e and offer it with auctions.
Durov suggested that Telegram could leverage similar technology to roll out a new marketplace that could be used to buy and sell “catchy t.me addresses like @storm or @royal, and all four-letter usernames:”
This would create a new platform where username owners could transfer them to interested parties in protected agreements – with secure ownership on the blockchain via NFT-style smart contracts.
Other elements of the Telegram ecosystem, including strings, stickers or emoji, could later become part of this market as well, he added.
The TON network uses the FunC programming language for the TON virtual machine and to launch specific smart contracts on the blockchain. If Telegram were to launch NFTs, they would most likely be based on this standard.