Telegram launches in-app currency ‘Stars’ for digital purchases

Social messaging platform Telegram has launched “Telegram Stars,” a new in-app token that can be used to purchase digital goods and services on the platform.

“With Telegram Stars, mini apps can now accept payments for digital services using the simplest payment method possible – in-app purchases on Android and iOS,” said Pavel Durov, the firm’s CEO in a June 6 Telegram post.

Developers can swap their Stars for Toncoin (TON) — the native cryptocurrency powering Telegram’s “The Open Network” — via Fragment, a platform mostly used to buy and sell Telegram usernames.

“They can also use Stars to further promote their apps on Telegram,” Durov added.

Source: Pavel Durov

Durov said Telegram will subsidize advertisements purchased with Stars on Apple and Google, which take a 30% commission on digital product sales.

Durov believes this will economically incentivize developers to build digital products on Telegram:

“If developers reinvest Stars in promoting their app, the overall commission will be nearly 0%. As a result, launching apps on Telegram makes more economic sense than launching traditional mobile apps.”

“Future updates will bring extra features and functionality to Stars – like gifts for content creators and more,” Telegram said in a June 6 post.

Telegram has seen considerable success with Notcoin, one of the platform’s most popular apps, which amassed 35 million users within the first five months of launch.

Notcoin is a “tap-to-earn” token where users earn NOT tokens by completing various social challenges.

More than 400 million of Telegram’s 900 million users interact with Telegram bots and mini apps every month.

Related: TON blockchain launches $115M community incentive program

Telegram launched Tether (USDT) on the TON blockchain in April as part of a partnership with the stablecoin issuer to drive more cryptocurrency adoption via the messaging platform.

“[Users] no longer need to jump through the barriers of having to acquire a different type of crypto or token,” TON Foundation director of investments Justin Hyun told Cointelegraph at the time.

About 36 hours earlier, TON set a new all-time high price of $7.65 but has since cooled off to $7.50, according to CoinGecko. However, its $18.2 billion market cap is still $7 billion off from its $25.2 billion peak set on April 12.

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