According to reports, Telegram plans to auction usernames on The Open Network (TON) blockchain. This decision comes two months after Telegram founder Pavel Durov first floated the idea. A message on an official channel belonging to the dual-headquartered platform read that “a few weeks ago, the founder and CEO of Telegram announced the upcoming ability to buy and sell unique and recognizable Telegram usernames.”
Furthermore, the announcement also stated:
“The development phase is almost over, and the auction platform will be launched soon. Make sure you don’t miss your chance to acquire the most valuable usernames and secure your ownership of them in the TON blockchain’s immutable ledger.”
What reportedly inspired Durov’s conceptualization of this auction scheme back in August is the success of a recent TON auction for their wallet usernames. A few usernames sold under this initiative, such as casino.ton, went for more than $200,000. Speaking directly to this, Durov said:
“If TON has been able to achieve these results, imagine how successful Telegram with its 700 million users could be if we put reserved @ usernames, group and channel links for auction.”
In addition, Durov also stated that other elements of the Telegram messaging app ecosystem could later be integrated into this marketplace. Examples include channels, stickers, and emojis.
Following the Telegram announcement to auction usernames on TON, the value of the blockchain’s native token, Toncoin, climbed nearly 9%. As of press time, Toncoin is changing hands at $1.34.
Telegram Projection Auction of Usernames Not New to The Internet Space
The buying and selling of user names in the Web3 space is not necessarily a novelty. For instance, Non Fungible’s market tracker states that more than 500,000 users have paid for usernames on Ethereum using the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) optional tool. The process of transacting usernames entails the transfer of such names by their holders to interested parties in protected deals. Ownership is then secured on the blockchain through the use of smart contracts that share properties similar to non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Buying and selling usernames also goes beyond the realm of the Web3 space. Other websites, such as Instagram and Twitter, also see such activities take place. Due to the increasing difficulty in attaining desired usernames on these other platforms, some users are willing to undergo extreme measures. Furthermore, there is a substantial depth of online advice that covers everything about the sale of usernames on various platforms. These include deploying complex copyright strategies to request that sites redistribute unused accounts.
Some users desperate to get certain usernames are willing to cross ethical boundaries. For example, reports state that some services do not think much of hacking the original owner to access social media handles.
Telegram first developed the TON blockchain alongside its messaging app some years back. However, the platform abandoned it in 2020 following a lawsuit from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).