Telegram's No-SIM Signup Feature Helps Toncoin Rally, Bitcoin Also Higher

Telegram users can purchase blockchain-based identities by paying Toncoin and bypass the need to use a SIM card to apply for the service as previously required.

AccessTimeIconDec 15, 2022 at 9:04 a.m. UTC
Updated Dec 15, 2022 at 3:32 p.m. UTC
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Omkar Godbole was a senior reporter on CoinDesk's Markets team.

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Messaging app Telegram recently unveiled a new privacy-boosting feature, lighting a fire under toncoin (TON), the native token of the decentralized layer one blockchain The Open Network, formerly known as Telegram Open Network.

On Dec. 6, Telegram announced that users can purchase an anonymous number on the Telegram founder's Fragment blockchain by paying Toncoin. Users can then utilize the unknown number to sign up for Telegram, bypassing the need to use a SIM card to apply for the service as previously required. Other end-to-end messaging applications like Signal and WhatsApp still require users to use their own mobile numbers.

TON has rallied 30% from $1.84 to $2.4 since the official announcement, with prices reaching as high as $2.8 at one point. Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency by market value, has gained a meager 4.5% during the same period, CoinDesk data show.

"Toncoin rallied +39.3% last 1w upon the revelation of the Telegram App's latest update, which allows users to open accounts without registering their phone numbers – instead, users can maintain anonymity by logging in using blockchain-based numbers, which are on auction for TON on the Fragment Platform," Markus Thielen, head of research and strategy at crypto services provider Matrixport, wrote in a note to clients on Thursday.

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TON has been rallying based on Telegram’s privacy update. (Matrixport Technologies) (Matrixport Technologies)

The no-SIM signup facility provides users with an added layer of privacy.

"On Telegram, your phone number was never visible to strangers – our users control who can see their number and whether others are allowed to find them by their phone number. Today starts a new era of privacy. You can have a Telegram account without a SIM card and log in using blockchain-powered anonymous numbers available on the Fragment platform," Telegram said in the Dec. 6 announcement.

In addition to allowing users to purchase blockchain-based identities, the new feature also opened the doors for the auto-deletion of messages on a timer for new chats.

These features marked deeper integration of blockchain technology, as promised by Telegram's founder and CEO Pavel Durov on Nov. 30.

Telegram plunged into the world of blockchains in late October with the launch of fragment platform, an Open Network-based decentralized auction platform allowing Telegram users to trade usernames. Since Fragment went live, the messaging app has sold at least $50 million worth of user names.

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Omkar Godbole was a senior reporter on CoinDesk's Markets team.


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Omkar Godbole was a senior reporter on CoinDesk's Markets team.