The popular encrypted messaging app Telegram is planning an ICO on its Telegram Open Network.

The ICO will fund the development of its own blockchain platform and digital currency, according to sources from Telegram who have spoken to TechCrunch.

The network is called Telegram Open Network (TON), its native currency will be called Gram.

Telegram plans to raise hundreds of millions of dollars with the ICO, making it potentially one of the largest ICOs in the world. Telegram’s size and popularity make its ICO unique in comparison to most ICOs, since the majority of ICOs are from startups and not established companies.

Unlike most ICOs, Telegram will not be accepting Bitcoin or Ethereum and instead wants participants to invest using fiat currency.

The big plans behind Telegram Open Network

The plan is to use the existing 180 million Telegram customers to fuel the growth of an entirely new blockchain. This existing customer base would be much large than any existing blockchain and could lead to the wide-scale adoption of digital currencies.

This is not the first time we have heard of a major messaging app potentially integrating digital currency, Facebook recently hinted at a similar announcement.

The goal with TON is to create a digital currency based app similar to WeChat. The integration of a payment feature in WeChat has made the app hugely successful. So popular, in fact, that

WeChat transactions are almost replacing cash transactions in parts of Asia. Their success has paved the way for the next logical step in the evolution of the technology, a messaging app with a built-in digital currency.

WeChat is highly centralized. Telegram plans to use a combination of both a centralized and decentralized blockchain, to improve security and scalability. Telegram plans to allow users to hold digital currency as well as fiat currency in their wallets.

What to expect from the app

Not a lot has been released regarding the specifications but there is news of some of TONs features.

For now, they have plans for a third-party app market, which runs on the Telegram Open Network (TON). The apps will add functionality to the user’s experience inside the TON network.

The network will allow users to access decentralized services similar to visiting a website.

The payments feature will accommodate for more than traditional transactions; it will also provide a platform for micropayments channels. These micropayment channels could interact with bots and services. Micropayments would allow users to pay for services like Wi-Fi with tiny micropayments, in a sort of pay as you go system.

The main blockchain will consist of a master chain and an almost limitless amount of accompanying blockchains.  It has a feature called infinite sharding which will allow for almost limitless scalability. The focus on scalability will keep even the most popular services on the network from slowing down. This would also keep fees to a minimum.

The network will be a proof-of-stake network, rather than a proof-of-work network like Bitcoin. The main difference being the former is more environmentally friendly.

The team has yet to release the full details of the network and the ICO. Although vast the project does look promising, to say the least.

 

Image credit: Telegram

 

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