May 3, 2024 - Economy

Telegram-linked TON investment driven by favorable regulatory climate

Illustration of a check folded into a paper airplane carrying an app button

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The fact that Telegram is based in Dubai has made a cryptocurrency linked to the mega-messaging app attractive to the original hedge fund for blockchain investment.

Between the lines: Pantera Capital yesterday announced it was backing the TON network, done through an eight-figure investment entirely in TON tokens, according to a person familiar with the matter.

  • "Telegram is the only major [messenger] platform that is free of regulatory hurdles to incorporate Web3 for an open blockchain network," Pantera wrote on its blog, specifically noting such hurdles in the U.S.

Context: The technology behind toncoin (TON) originated within Telegram HQ, and Pavel Durov's company has integrated the cryptocurrency borne of that tech since.

  • Telegram says it is pushing a billion users, and toncoin's top wallet reports having monthly active users in the millions.

Flashback: In the depths of the crypto doldrums last year, trading tokens on Telegram was one bright spot.

  • That kind of innovation has evolved into a whole economy of what they are calling "mini apps" on the messaging app.
  • Pantera is betting this ecosystem will serve toncoin well, as "Telegram serves as a foundation for viral social and gaming applications," they write.

What we're watching: Telegram plans to launch a toncoin-powered ads network within its Channels, which have been its killer application.

  • Channels are "one-to-many" feeds on Telegram. Some of them serve content to millions of people.
  • Ads will be paid for with toncoin and they will share revenue with Channel moderators.
Go deeper