TON-Based Economy Starting to Take Root in Telegram, TON Foundation Says

The Open League program, announced on April 1, is bringing users on-chain in "unprecedented numbers," TON Foundation's Justin Hyun told CoinDesk.

AccessTimeIconApr 16, 2024 at 10:44 a.m. UTC
Updated Apr 16, 2024 at 6:44 p.m. UTC
  • Telegram's pivot to toncoin payments for advertisements and the Open League reward program are boosting the token's adoption.
  • TON has gained 15% this month, outperforming the broader market.

A toncoin (TON)-based economy is starting to take root in the messaging app Telegram, and that explains the token's recent outperformance of the broader crypto market, according to Justin Hyun, director of investments at TON Foundation.

TON has gained 15% this month, clocking record highs above $7, while bitcoin (BTC), the leading cryptocurrency by market value, declined 11% and the CoinDesk 20 Index, a broader market gauge, dropped 16%, CoinDesk data show. Open interest, or the dollar value locked in the number of perpetual futures tied to TON, has increased by over 17% to $160 million in the same period, CoinGlass data show. At one point, open interest topped $200 million. An uptick in open interest alongside a price rise reflects an influx of new money and confirms the uptrend.

Toncoin is the native cryptocurrency of The Open Network (TON), a decentralized, layer-1 network popularly known as the TON blockchain. In February, Telegram, which has 800 million users, introduced an advertising revenue-sharing system for channel owners that pays out exclusively in TON. Telegram channels generate over 1 trillion views a month, and owners of public channels with at least 1,000 subscribers stand to receive 50% of the revenue generated from the display of ads in their channels.

"Telegram has launched its ad platform, which only accepts Toncoin instead of fiat, choosing the principles of Web3 and paying 50% of the revenue they make from advertising back to Telegram channel owners, Hyun said in an interview over email. "The move will mean channel owners can distribute Toncoin in giveaways to their audiences, growing awareness of TON's ecosystem even further, and over time, decentralizing the token supply to Telegram's best and brightest creators."

Last week, TON Foundation partnered with HashKey Group, the parent entity of the Hong Kong-licensed crypto exchange of the same name, to facilitate hassle-free and seamless conversion of fiat currencies into digital assets and vice versa for its wallet users from the Asia Pacific region.

Hyun added that the Open League program, announced on April 1, is bringing users on-chain in "unprecedented numbers." The program is a reward strategy to encourage user participation in developing the ecosystem.

Under the program, TON Foundation is set to distribute 30 million TON, worth $188 million, to community members through quests, airdrops, and liquidity pools on TON's decentralized exchanges.

"This strategy of focusing on developers who understand what's required to build consumer applications that engage millions of users is going to be key for the future of crypto adoption. TON is really the only hope of mass adoption for Web3 technologies. It will do for Web3 tech what the Apple Mac did for personal computing. Not a computer in every home, but crypto in every pocket," Hyun said.

The program aims to bring millions of Telegram users on-chain, establishing TON as the home for consumer product markets and creating a self-reinforcing flywheel for Ton-based projects. The league's pilot season caused a 47% increase in the daily active wallets and a 244% increase in the dollar value of crypto assets locked in the TON ecosystem.

TON Foundation: The Open League's flywheel. (TON)
TON Foundation: The Open League's flywheel. (TON) (TON)

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Omkar Godbole

Omkar Godbole is a Co-Managing Editor on CoinDesk's Markets team.