Telegram founder suggests ‘NFT-like smart contracts’ to auction usernames

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Pavel Durov, the founder of encrypted messaging application Telegram, has spoken about the possibility of a marketplace that could use “NFT-like smart contracts” to auction off high-quality usernames. This would work similarly to how people auction rare or valuable items using NFTs (non-fungible tokens), except in this case, the item up for auction would be a username. This could be a valuable way to distribute scarce resources fairly and transparently.

Telegram founder

Durov came up with this idea for domain name auctions while working on The Open Network project. TON DNS allows people to use common words to name their wallets, smart contracts and websites instead of a long string of numbers and letters. The service launched in the middle of July.

He suggested that the company could roll out a marketplace for selling “catchy” usernames like @storm or @royal, as well as all four-letter usernames. 

TON: Telegram’s Blockchain-Powered Network

The first wave of auctions for TON DNS domains kicked off on July 30. Like the Ethereum Name Service’s “.eth” domains, the “.ton” domains provide users with an easy way to access decentralized applications. 

TON is known for using the FunC programming language in the TON Virtual Machine and for specific smart contracts on the blockchain. If Telegram were to launch NFTs, they would likely use FunC as the standard. The developers created TON to be used as a digital payments system. Unfortunately, it faced legal trouble with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when it held an unregistered preliminary sale of $1.7 billion worth of Gram tokens.

After Durov lost the court battle with the SEC in 2020, he decided to focus on other projects. However, open source developers have taken up the project under “The Open Network”.

The TON network has a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism and supports different features like staking, NFTs, and decentralized applications.