Telegram will not integrate TON Wallet with messaging service

Russian messaging giant commits to using decentralised blockchain in move that will disappoint investors


Russian messaging giant Telegram has said it will not integrate its highly anticipated TON Wallet into its existing messenger service.

It said: “At the time of the anticipated launch of the TON Blockchain, Telegram’s TON Wallet application is expected to be made available solely on a stand-alone basis and will not be integrated with the Telegram Messenger service.”

Telegram hopes this will enable the TON Wallet to “compete with any other wallet applications designed and offered by third parties”.

However the statement will come as a blow to existing investors as TON’s initial appeal was the assumption that it would use the Telegram messenger service as a distribution channel.

Telegram was founded in St Petersburg, Russia in 2013 to compete with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It now has more than 200 million monthly users across the globe with a target of one billion by 2022.

Telegram claims to provide genuine privacy compared with other messaging services thanks to its encrypted nature. This has helped it to become the most popular messaging service in Iran.

Privacy and decentralisation could be a major motive for this latest decision. “We are creating a decentralized platform for everyone. Once it launches, Telegram won‘t be obligated to maintain the platform or create any apps for it,” the company said. It later added: “Telegram won‘t be able to control the blockchain and the ecosystem after it launches.”

Increased regulatory scrutiny could also explain the decision. Telegram is currently locked in a battle with the American Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over TON’s initial coin offering (ICO), which allegedly sold $1.7bn (£1.29bn, €1.5bn) in tokens.

Last week the SEC urged a court in the Southern District of New York to force Telegram to provide documents revealing financial details of the ICO. The company has so far been unwilling to disclose such information.

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