Telegram Founder Suggests Auction Usernames as NFT-Like Smart Contracts


August 24, 2022

In an interesting development, Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram, an encrypted messaging application, has shown interest in his idea of developing a marketplace that could utilize “NFT-like smart contracts” to auction highly-sought after Telegram usernames. 

Durov suggested after the success of domain name auctions by TON, The Open Network, a layer-1 blockchain that was originally designed by the Telegram team itself. The blockchain project TON launched its DNS service that would enable users to assign eligible names to crypto wallets, websites, and smart contracts earlier this year. 

Durov also sent out a message to his personal Telegram group, Durov’s Channel stating that he was “really impressed by the success of the auction TON recently conducted for their domain/wallet names.”

“Imagine how successful Telegram with its 700 million users could be if we put reserved @ usernames, group and channel links for auction,” he said. 

Durov further suggested that Telegram could tap into similar technology to develop a new marketplace to sell and buy catch addresses such as @storm or @royal and all four-letter usernames. 

“This would create a new platform where username holders could transfer them to interested parties in protected deals — with ownership secured on the blockchain via NFT-like smart contracts.”

“Other elements of the Telegram ecosystem, including channels, stickers or emoji, could later also become part of this marketplace,” he added.

The TON DNS went live on July 30 and, like Ethereum Name Service, allows users to access dApps using simple names instead of a long string of letters and numbers. Durov believes, “Our team can write bullet-proof smart contracts for TON (since it was us who invented its smart-contract language), so we are inclined to try out TON as the underlying blockchain for our future marketplace,”

Telegram is one of the most used platforms by the crypto community for engaging with projects, investors, and whatnot. This integration will help some users with unique names monetize their creativity.