Telegram launches marketplace to auction rare username handles


The popular messaging app Telegram announced on Oct. 26 the official launch of its new marketplace built on the Telegram Open Network (TON) blockchain. The marketplace will serve as an auction platform on which rare Telegram handles will be up for grabs.

The idea was first mentioned back in August on app founder Pavel Durov’s Telegram channel after the TON Foundation successfully auctioned off TON DNS domains.

Telegram will start with auctions of four- and five-letter handles, with this being the first time shorter handles will be made available to all users. The auction will last a week, with a price minimum for a four-character handle likely to be set at 10,000 Toncoin, the native token of the TON blockchain.

Individual Telegram users will also have the ability to auction off their own usernames. According to the announcement, the owners of a particular handle will have the option to move and resell their purchase across several marketplaces as desired.

Andrew Rogozov, founding member of the TON Foundation, believes this development will help accelerate blockchain adoption.

“For the first time, social media users will be able to transparently prove that they own their handles.”

Cointelegraph reached out to Telegram for further comments on the development.

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Telegram has a large user base within the combined Web3 and crypto community and has actively made efforts to incorporate Web3 features into its operations.

The company first announced the development of the TON blockchain in 2018. However, it had to sever ties with the project due to a sticky court battle in 2020 with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission regarding its $1.7 billion initial coin offering. 

It then resurfaced as the TON Foundation and picked up momentum in the space once more. In April 2022, Telegram Wallet Bot enabled its users to send crypto in-app via the TON blockchain.