Can TON Bring 900m telegram Users into Crypto?
Colin Wu . 2024-05-22 . Data

The interviewee is Jack Booth, Director of Marketing at TON Foundation and Games Master of the Open League.

The audio-to-text transcription used GPT, which may contain errors. Listen to the full podcast:Youtube Spotify

Is Notcoin developed by your team? Why was it listed simultaneously on OKX and Binance?

Notcoin was not developed by our team. It was created by an independent community team. The launch, which happened yesterday, was incredibly successful. The entire community was extremely excited, and the build-up to the launch was incredible. The feedback from everyone has been amazing.

We did encounter a few issues. Even Bybit went down due to the high traffic driven by Notcoin’s launch. The wallet on Telegram also experienced some issues where claims weren’t working properly.

As for why it was listed simultaneously on OKEx and Binance, it’s because this is the biggest launch of a web3 game ever. No web3 game has grown to 35 million users in just 3 months before. Consider Axie Infinity, which was considered the biggest web3 game before this. At its peak, it had only 2 million daily users. In contrast, Notcoin consistently had 6 million daily users, with 600,000 users playing at any given moment during the mining phase. This is an incredible milestone for the ecosystem, proving that projects aiming to scale and reach millions of users can do so on platforms like Telegram.

The exchanges wanted to be part of this significant moment. OKEx, Binance, Bybit, and others bought into the “probably nothing” vision of Notcoin. This catchphrase, “probably nothing,” was because Notcoin never claimed to be anything significant and even suggested that users might waste their time. Contrary to this, it has turned out to be something substantial.

What are the leading applications in the TON ecosystem?

Telegram is a significant part of the TON ecosystem. One of the first major use cases of the TON Blockchain was the application developed by Telegram itself, which is allows you to buy your Telegram username as an NFT. This is a groundbreaking feature as it enables you to own your social media handle, a first in the history of social media. This concept is akin to owning valuable real estate on the blockchain. For example, there’s only one username “@crypto” on the entire Telegram platform, and you can build a mini-application associated with that username.

I liken this to buying land in central London in 1920. Back then, you could have built various structures to increase its value. Similarly, owning a valuable username on Telegram can attract traffic and enhance your project’s visibility, as Telegram users interact with it daily. This makes a game-changer and one of the leading applications in the TON ecosystem, with about $300 million worth of total volume since its launch.

Another key application is @wallet. This is the primary wallet within Telegram, allowing users to send and receive USDT, Bitcoin, TONcoin, and now Notcoin, directly within their Telegram DMs. This facilitates instant and borderless payments. For instance, I can send you any amount of money from London to Asia seamlessly. The wallet aims to make global payments almost free and instantaneous, potentially enabling fiat-to-fiat transactions within Telegram without users needing to know they’re using blockchain technology. This could revolutionize how people send money across borders, making it extremely accessible.

Notcoin is another significant application that launched recently, reaching 35 million users. It’s now entering a phase where projects can buy Notcoin and offer it as a reward for completing on-chain tasks. During its initial phase, the Notcoin mining game was highly successful, attracting hundreds of thousands of users overnight. This proven model will continue to drive traffic and incentivize user engagement within the TON ecosystem.

Is the Telegram founder the real supporter behind TON?

Telegram was indeed the original creator of the TON (The Open Network) Blockchain and laid down the foundational white paper and technology. However, due to regulatory issues with the SEC during their ICO, Telegram had to cease their direct involvement, return the ICO funds to investors, and pay fines. At that point, Telegram handed over all development keys and control of the project to the community.

The community developers, who are now part of the TON Foundation where I work, took over the project from there. It wasn’t even on a mainnet at the time, and they had to develop and launch it from a relatively unusable state to what it is now. This community-driven approach has been crucial in advancing the TON Blockchain to its current capabilities.

While Telegram is no longer directly developing the TON Blockchain, it remains a significant supporter and collaborator. Telegram builds applications on top of the TON Blockchain, such as and the upcoming NFT stickers. They are also integrating TON Blockchain features into Telegram itself, like the wallet integration within the settings menu. This collaboration is vital as it provides an entry point for blockchain technology to millions of Telegram users.

Telegram’s mini app platform is open, allowing anyone to build mini apps, not just those based on TON. However, TON has a unique integration with Telegram through TON Connect, enabling seamless blockchain interactions within Telegram. This integration aims to make blockchain applications accessible and easy to use without leaving the Telegram app.

The collaboration between the TON Foundation and Telegram benefits both parties. For Telegram, it drives new user growth and attracts developers to build on their platform. For TON, it provides a vast user base and a valuable digital landscape for blockchain applications. This partnership aims to create the first web3 global super app, leveraging Telegram’s extensive reach and TON’s blockchain capabilities.

Why hasn’t Binance listed TON yet? Have there been any communications about it? Is there a possibility of listing in the future?

I can’t comment on ongoing discussions due to confidentiality. There are confidentiality clauses in place that prevent us from disclosing any details about current or potential communications regarding Binance’s listing of TON.

While I understand your curiosity, we must respect these confidentiality agreements and cannot provide any specific information on this matter at the moment.

Are there any interesting stories about the collaboration between TON and USDT? How was this partnership achieved, and what are the future goals?

Are there any interesting stories about the collaboration between TON and USDT? How was this partnership achieved, and what are the future goals?

The collaboration between TON and USDT has been a significant milestone for both platforms. The launch of USDT on TON was announced by Pavel Durov at Token 2049 in Dubai in April. This partnership is a strategic match, combining the world’s largest stablecoin with a highly scalable blockchain and a massive messaging platform like Telegram. The goal is to provide financial services to the unbanked and offer a stable currency to combat inflation in emerging markets.

An interesting story about the collaboration’s origin involves Paolo Ardoino, the CTO of Tether (USDT). He was introduced to TON by community members in a restaurant. They explained how TON would become Telegram’s major blockchain partner and suggested that USDT could leverage this partnership to reach Telegram’s vast user base. This initial introduction sparked further discussions, with Paolo Ardoino driving the integration of USDT into TON and Telegram. He recognized the potential to grow USDT’s market share by tapping into Telegram’s unique access to unbanked populations, who are difficult to reach through traditional marketing channels but are accessible via Telegram’s messaging platform.

The launch has been incredibly successful. Since its announcement in April, the circulating supply of USDT on TON has reached $275 million, with around 75,000 users holding USDT on the blockchain. This growth far exceeded initial expectations, with the goal of $100 million in circulating supply for the first year being surpassed more than threefold in just four weeks.

The future goals include continuing to leverage Telegram’s reach to expand USDT’s user base, particularly in emerging markets. By integrating USDT into the TON ecosystem, the partnership aims to provide seamless, borderless financial services to a broader audience, making stablecoins more accessible and practical for everyday use.

This collaboration is a prime example of how blockchain technology and stablecoins can work together to address real-world financial challenges, particularly for unbanked populations. The momentum behind this growth is promising, and the partnership is well-positioned to achieve even greater success in the future.

Does TON focus more on the Asian market? Are there any regulatory restrictions in the European and American markets?

Our focus is indeed more on markets where there is a strong presence of mini app developers, particularly in Asia and the CIS regions. These markets have a deep familiarity with super apps, which are popular and widely used. For instance, platforms like Line and KakaoTalk in Asia, and VK in Russia, have already established the super app model. Developers and users in these regions understand the concept of integrating multiple services into a single messaging app, making it easier to introduce and scale our solutions.

Our strategy leverages this familiarity by enabling blockchain features for existing mini app developers. These developers can significantly enhance their revenue and user engagement by integrating with the TON blockchain, tapping into Telegram’s extensive user base.

Our recent participation in the Hong Kong Web3 Festival validated our approach. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with developers showing immense interest in our technological roadmap and marketing support. The excitement and understanding of our vision were palpable, particularly in Asia, where developers are eager to be part of the global Web3 super app movement through Telegram.

Regarding regulatory restrictions in the European and American markets, we are mindful of the different regulatory environments. While I cannot comment on specific restrictions, it’s clear that these regions have more stringent regulatory frameworks for blockchain and cryptocurrency projects. This is partly why our focus remains on regions with a more favorable and understanding approach to blockchain innovation.

The momentum in Asia and Eastern Europe is growing, and developers there are keen to build and scale applications on the TON blockchain. Although we are still in the early stages of ecosystem development, with only a few hundred applications and no single killer app with over 100 million users, the strategy and narrative are solid. As we continue to grow and validate our approach, we anticipate further expansion and success in these key markets.

I appreciate the point about the inequality between Eastern and Western developers. It is indeed a significant issue, as Eastern developers often do not receive the same level of funding as their Western counterparts. Most venture capital investments occur in the West, which puts Eastern developers at a disadvantage. This is why our focus is strongly oriented towards Eastern European and Asian regions. We provide a platform that attracts users, making any VC interested in applications with substantial user bases, such as 10 million or 20 million users. Building on platforms like TON and Telegram gives these developers an opportunity to reach the same stage as their Western counterparts.

We have the Open League, which is our growth strategy for the ecosystem. It’s an exciting project that has grown beyond my expectations. The Open League is an ecosystem-wide competition where projects compete based on their performance metrics, such as growing their total value locked (TVL) and user base. Successful projects are rewarded with TON Coin.

Another benefit of the Open League is the LP boost provided by the TON Foundation. This boosts the liquidity pools on decentralized exchanges (DEXes), making the tokens of participating projects more attractive. This added liquidity generates excitement and interest around these projects. Unlike traditional grants where the foundation decides on funding, the Open League offers a transparent system with clear rules. Projects that follow these rules and perform well can win significant prizes. For instance, in the recently concluded season 2, the top project received $375,000. This approach is fairer and encourages continuous development and community engagement.

Additionally, we are launching the Open League Summer, featuring 13 hackathons in 13 countries, including Hong Kong and Taipei. These events gather individuals with ideas for building on TON, allowing them to pitch and compete for a share of $2 million in prizes. Successful participants can enter the Open League, which brings significant user interest and engagement.

The results since the Open League started in March have been impressive. Daily active wallets have increased by 725%, DeFi TVL by 800%, and liquidity providers by 765%. Daily trading volume on our DEXes has surged by 1,038%, and the number of token holders has grown to 1.6 million, an increase of 13%. These metrics demonstrate the program’s effectiveness in driving ecosystem growth. So far, we’ve announced rewards totaling 30 million TON, equivalent to about $200 million, for the Open League projects and their users. Season 3 just started two days ago, and we are excited to see continued growth and innovation.

What is the distribution of TON tokens like? Do early miners hold a significant amount of the tokens?

Since the TON Foundation was not the original issuer of TON Coin, we rely on public on-chain data to understand its distribution. According to Token Terminal data, there are now 17.11 million addresses holding TON Coin. Initially, a significant portion was distributed to a small number of large holders. However, many of these holders are not actively circulating their tokens as they prefer to hold them.

To clarify the circulating supply, the community has implemented two major initiatives. First, in early 2023, the community and validators conducted an on-chain vote to freeze the wallets of inactive miners. These wallets, which constitute about 21% of the total supply, are now locked until February 2027.

Second, the community initiated the TON Believers Fund, which allows TON holders to lock their tokens for five years — two years locked and three years vesting. Users can either donate or deposit TON into a smart contract, with depositors earning rewards from the donated TON. This initiative was very successful, resulting in another 26% of the supply being locked up for five years.

Together, these initiatives have locked up about 47% of the total supply. The Open League also helps address this challenge by actively distributing TON Coin to community members and projects. This system encourages early holders to donate their TON Coin, thereby growing the ecosystem and distributing TON Coin to the most active and valuable participants.

The Open League decentralizes the supply over time, rewarding the most valuable projects and users. We expect this process to continue for the next two to three years, further decentralizing the supply.

Another way supply is being decentralized is through Telegram ads. Telegram’s advertising platform shares 50% of ad revenue with channel owners in TON Coin. Advertisers pay in TON Coin, and creators are rewarded in TON Coin. This system distributes TON Coin to channel owners and further decentralizes the supply over time.

While we have had to figure out the best ways to protect the ecosystem, initiatives like the Open League and Telegram ads are crucial. With 47% of the supply locked until 2027, we have established a strong foundation for decentralizing and growing the TON ecosystem.

What major milestones has Ton achieved this year?

I can share the key drivers behind Ton’s growth. The first significant milestone was the launch of the Open League in March. Since then, our metrics have shown tremendous improvement. March 4th marked the beginning of Open League Season 1, and it has been a period of rapid progress for us.

Another crucial milestone was integrating the wallet into Telegram settings. This brought us closer to a seamless integration with Telegram. Additionally, the announcement that Telegram is building its advertising platform on Tong Kong was a major development. This is a unique case where such a large-scale advertising platform is built on blockchain technology. Advertising is a dominant application of the internet, with major companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon generating most of their revenue through ads. Now, with Telegram’s blockchain-based ads and a generous revenue-sharing program offering 50% to creators within Telegram, it’s a groundbreaking advancement.

The launch of USDT at Token 2049 was another significant event. It simplified borderless payments using USDT, the largest stablecoin, allowing free and instant transfers within Telegram. This is a use case with immense potential, and I’m eager to see its full impact.

Looking ahead, the launch of Telegram stickers on Ton is an exciting development. Similar to the profile picture boom of NFTs in 2021, NFT stickers on Ton and Telegram could revolutionize the ecosystem. These stickers have emotional value and practical utility, allowing users to showcase them in everyday messaging. We are already collaborating with major NFT projects to bring this to life.

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