Tether Seeks to Boost Peer-to-Peer Payments on Telegram by Expanding Dollar, Gold Stablecoins to TON Network

The TON network has seen rapid growth recently helped by incentives for onboarding Telegram users.

AccessTimeIconApr 19, 2024 at 11:08 a.m. UTC
Updated May 6, 2024 at 3:55 p.m. UTC
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  • Tether said it aims to boost USDT and XAUT tokens on TON for peer-to-peer payments targeting Telegram's 900 million user base.
  • The TON network was launched by Telegram, but separated after regulatory concerns.

Tether, the company behind the $108 billion market cap USDT, said it is expanding the dollar-pegged stablecoin and its gold-backed XAUT sibling natively on The Open Network (TON), a blockchain adjacent to messaging app Telegram.

Tether's transparency page earlier today showed that there's $10 million worth of USDT authorized on the TON blockchain, with $3 million being already issued.

With the move, Tether aims to boost USDT and XAUT for "borderless, peer-to-peer payments" among Telegram's nearly 900 million users, according to a statement issued during the Dubai 2049 conference. The expansion will also benefit the rapidly growing TON ecosystem, where users will be able to use the stablecoins in decentralized finance (DeFi) applications.

"The launch of USDT and XAUT on TON will allow seamless value transfer, increasing activity and liquidity while offering users a financial experience that can match those found in the traditional financial system," Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino said in the statement. "This furthers our mission of powering open financial infrastructure across the blockchain space.”

The Open Network is a decentralized layer-1 network initiated by Telegram but operating independently since the company abandoned development due to regulatory concerns. The ecosystem has seen rapid growth lately with incentives for onboarding Telegram users, boosting the number of monthly active addresses to over 1.7 million from less than 100,000 six months ago, according to blockchain data by Tonstat. Telegram also recently switched to the network's native token, toncoin (TON), from euros as a payment for its advertisement platform.

The TON token was up earlier in the day, then tumbled as much as 15% following the news. It's still up 7% over the past 24 hours and tripled in price this year, boasting nearly a $25 billion market capitalization.

While the crypto wallet on Telegram supports various blockchains for deposits and withdrawals, "to encourage the adoption of TON, trading fees are substantially reduced," Halil Mirakhmed, chief operating officer of Wallet in Telegram, which operates independently from Telegram, told CoinDesk. "Within the Ton Space ecosystem only USDT on TON is available, streamlining the user experience for those invested in the TON ecosystem," he added.

Following the announcement, Ramp Network, a fintech company connecting crypto with traditional banking rails, said Friday it will enable purchases and withdrawals of USDT on TON. The company will start by allowing on-ramping from fiat currencies to USDT on TON on its website and integrate to third-party wallets supporting TON-based assets, and plans to add off-ramp capabilities later.

"Crypto transactions should be as simple as texting," Ramp CEO Szymon Sypniewicz said in a statement. "We look forward to seeing how enabling access to instant, low-cost crypto transactions can improve the lives of hundreds of millions of users in the TON ecosystem."

UPDATE (April 19, 11:23 UTC): Adds that issuance has started in second paragraph, changes headline wording.

UPDATE (April 19, 11:40 UTC): Changes sourcing to press statement, adapts headline to match the statement.

UPDATE (April 19, 14:18 UTC): Updates TON price action following the announcement.

UPDATE (April 19, 145:00 UTC): Adds Ramp Network's announcement about adding USDT on TON support in last two paragraphs.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Krisztian  Sandor

Krisztian Sandor is a reporter on the U.S. markets team focusing on stablecoins and institutional investment. He holds BTC and ETH.

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