The popular encrypted messaging application Telegram will launch its own Blockchain platform and cryptocurrency, according to sources familiar with the matter. The new platform will be called ” Telegram Open Network ” (TON) and is supposed to be based on an improved version of Blockchain technology.

The initial reports of the new platform emerged today from Anton Rozenberg , a former employee of Telegram’s publishing division, Telegraph. Rozenberg posted on Facebook what he claims is an advertising video for the new platform (he did not reveal the source of the video). He also pointed out that TON would help those under oppressive governments, since they could transfer money natively through the messaging application. This could serve to break the state’s control over citizens’ money, Rozenberg added.

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According to  Cointelegraph , the currency of TON will be called “Gram” and the platform will be integrated natively with many of the most popular messaging applications (it is not yet known which ones). The platform will use light wallets, which makes it unnecessary for users to download a large and difficult to manage Blockchain.

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The TON platform will also not have to go through a multi-year startup period like most new platforms, since the Telegram application already has 180 million users.

Telegram is already immensely popular among the Blockchain community, as co-founder Pavel Durov proclaimed: “At this time, the entire Blockchain and cryptocurrency community has just migrated to Telegram.”

Although not yet officially confirmed, the creation of TON is compatible with a previous Bloomberg article, which noted: “[Durov] sees Telegram as a charity that will start monetizing early next year, but only enough to finance the expansion. ”

The Mark Zuckerberg of Russia

The enigmatic Pavel Durov partnered with his brother to launch Telegram in 2013. The application has end-to-end encryption, making it extremely useful for dissidents and ordinary citizens living under oppressive regimes. In fact, according to Bloomberg, Telegram accounts for 40% of Iran’s Internet traffic. The Iranian government is so offended by the privacy features of the application that they have accused Durov, in his absence, of terrorism.

Durov is used to dealing with oppressive regimes. He and his brother were co-founders of Russia’s largest social network, VK, and built a company worth more than $ 3 billion. VK was in fact quite similar to Facebook, but when he refused to deliver personal information from users to the Russian authorities, he was forced to sell his stake in the company to one of Putin’s allies.

After being expelled from VK, Durov left Russia forever, taking with him an estimated $ 300 million and 2,000 Bitcoins. He took his substantial wealth to San Cristobal and Nieves, investing enough in the Caribbean nation to become a citizen. However, he spends most of his time in Dubai.

Durov insists that Telegram is not for sale at any price, since “the privacy of its users is too valuable to risk”.

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