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Tether Moving Onto Telegram But Will $60 Million Inspire Competitors?

Last Updated April 22, 2024 9:10 AM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated April 22, 2024 9:10 AM
By Teuta Franjkovic
Verified by Peter Henn

Key Takeaways

  • Tether’s USDT stablecoin is now available on TON.
  • TON’s native token, Toncoin, recently surpassed Dogecoin in market cap.
  • Tether is actively expanding its presence across various blockchains and services.
  • Other messaging services are trying to facilitate crypto payments.

Tether, the entity behind the widely-used stablecoin USDT, has recently expanded its reach by issuing $60 million of the digital currency on The Open Network (TON).

Tether said  it also plans to launch Tether Gold (XAUT), a gold-pegged stablecoin, on the same network, allowing it to be used for payments on the Telegram messaging service.

The link between USDT and Telegram is not the first time an attempt has been made to allow crypto payments on a messaging app. Perhaps most notably, American WhatsApp users could crypto payments within the platform before the Novi wallet shut down in 2022.

Tether Brings USDT to Telegram-Linked Blockchain

The move is part of Tether’s attempts to integrate further with platforms that support decentralized applications.

During their keynote speeches at the Token2049 crypto event in Dubai, Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino and Telegram founder Pavel Durov announced the launch of the USDT stablecoin on The Open Network (TON).

In the same setting, Tether revealed plans for a significant restructuring, introducing four new business divisions: Tether Data, Tether Finance, Tether Power, and Tether Edu.

Paolo Ardoino, Tether’s CEO, emphasized  that both TON and Tether were both committed to fostering an open, decentralized internet and promoting a borderless financial system.

He stated :

“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.”

Messaging App’s Crypto Now Rivals Dogecoin

The recent launch  of Tether’s USDT on The Open Network (TON) represents a significant step in its ongoing expansion across different blockchain platforms, now totaling 15, including notable chains like Tron and Ethereum.

This expansion not only broadens Tether’s accessibility and utility across various blockchains but also marks a critical development for the TON network itself.

Notably, TON’s native token, Toncoin, recently surpassed Dogecoin, becoming the ninth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization as of April 16.

According to the announcement :

“The TON blockchain works with Telegram, meaning USDT and XAUT on TON have the potential to provide a simple, borderless experience for peer-to-peer payments for Telegram’s user base which Telegram estimates at over 900 million global users.”

Tether Deepens Ties with Telegram: Native TON USDT Expands Wallet Options

USDT’s integration with The Open Network (TON) extends beyond its recent launch. Since at least 2023, USDT has been a standard cryptocurrency offered on Wallet, a third-party platform accessible to Telegram users. Wallet supports several cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Toncoin.

Notably, within Wallet, the Tron network currently serves as the default blockchain for USDT transactions, utilizing the TRC-20 token standard.

This standard facilitates the use of USDT on Tron. This setup is part of Tether’s attempt to use multiple blockchains to enhance accessibility and functionality for its users.

Stablecoins Hit Messaging Apps: Meta & Coinbase Push Crypto Payments

In 2018, Meta said its Novi digital wallet would integrate with WhatsApp, allowing users to send and receive payments using stablecoins directly. Although some US WhatsApp users were able to use the service in 2021, Novi closed  the following year.

In December, Coinbase made significant updates  to its decentralized Wallet service to make it more user-friendly and accessible. These included the ability to send funds through messages on platforms such as Telegram and WhatsApp.

Although Telegram has integrated cryptocurrency payments and wallet functionalities, it appears that other major messaging platforms haven’t yet widely adopted cryptocurrency for payments. WhatsApp launched cryptocurrency payments for some American users in 2021. However, other traditional messaging giants like LINE and Kakao  are mostly still exploring financial services. These may include crypto exchanges rather than direct crypto payments within chats​​.

Emerging platforms like TokLok  were also making strides in integrating cryptocurrency payments directly within their services. This indicates a growing trend among newer, more decentralized, platforms to incorporate crypto payments as a core feature​​.

USDT Reaffirms Tron’s Dominance as Tether Hits $100 Bn Market Cap

At the time of the announcement, the Tron blockchain holds  the largest share of issued USDT.

Additionally, Tether’s launched a recovery tool in March 2024, allowing users to move USDT between different blockchains. This tool’s introduction came as USDT’s market cap reached an all-time high of $100 billion on March 4.

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