Telegram founder proposes auctioning username addresses with NFT-like smart contracts

  • After its recent success with domain name auctions, Telegram is planning auctions of millions of reserved Telegram addresses.
  • Founder Pavel Durov said that TON has the best technology to host decentralized sales and Telegram can easily write “bullet-proof” smart contracts.

On Monday, August 22, Telegram founder Pavel Durov floated a new idea of having a marketplace to auction the most in-demand usernames by leveraging the NFT-like smart contracts. Durov also added that millions of reserved Telegram addresses could be up for auction as assets on the blockchain network.

His suggestions came after the success of domain name auctions on The Open Network (TON). The TON is a Layer-1 blockchain network designed by the Telegram team. Telegram’s blockchain platform launched the TON DNS service allowing users to assign human-readable names to crypto smart contracts, wallets, and websites.

Related: Telegram integrates crypto payments long after abandoning its crypto project

In his message on Monday, on “Durov’s Channel”, the Telegram founder said that he was impressed with the success of the auction that TON recently conducted for their domain/wallet names. “Imagine how successful Telegram with its 700 million users could be if we put reserved @ usernames, group and channel links for auction,” he said.

Leveraging this technology, Durov is willing to roll out a new marketplace that would allow to buy/sell popular user names. The Telegram founder also noted:

This would create a new platform where username holders could transfer them to interested parties in protected deals – with ownership secured on the blockchain via NFT-like smart-contracts. Other elements of the Telegram ecosystem, including channels, stickers or emoji, could later also become part of this marketplace.

Pavel Durov shares the new implementation plan

The Telegram team had originally designed the TON blockchain network but later handed it over to The Open Network community in June 2020. Telegram was forced to forfeit its claim over TON as part of the settlement deal with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Telegram conducted the first auctions of TON DNS less than a month ago on July 30. Similar to .eth, the domain variants with .ton allow users to access decentralized applications in a simple manner without the need of typing a long string of letters and numbers from their wallet addresses.

The TON network makes use of the FunC programming language to launch specific smart contracts on the blockchain. If TON plans to launch its NFTs, they would also work on these standards. Since the Telegram team has already worked on TON before, a similar integration would be easy for them. Durov said:

When it comes to scalability and speed, TON probably has the best technology to host such decentralized sales. Our team can write bullet-proof smart contracts for TON (since it was us who invented its smart-contract language), so we are inclined to try out TON as the underlying blockchain for our future marketplace. 

The TON blockchain network uses the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. Thus, it supports several features like dApps, NFTs, and staking.

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