Tether Partners With Telegram To Bring Crypto Payments To 900 Million Users

Telegram users can now send and withdraw USDT for free.

By: Pedro Solimano Loading...

abstract representations of the Telegram logo and Tether symbols, interconnected with digital lines, all highlighted against a dark background abstract representations of the Telegram logo and Tether symbols, interconnected with digital lines, all highlighted against a dark background

Leading stablecoin issuer Tether has integrated with Telegram to bring USDT payments to one of the most popular messaging apps on the planet.

“This popped up just now on my app,” wrote Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino on April 19, posting a photo of Telegram announcing that USDT was available on the app. “Tether and Telegram join forces. An entire ecosystem at your fingertips. Unstoppable Together.”

Users will now be able to send USDT within Telegram for free and withdraw the stablecoin from the app without any costs.

Screenshot of Telegram's USDT Integration
Screenshot of Telegram's USDT Integration

Paolo Ardoino, Pavel Durov, CEO of Telegram, and Andrew Rogozov, the CEO of Top and Wallet – which will facilitate the integration between the companies – made the announcement at the recent Token2049 conference in Dubai.

Between Tether’s dominance in the stablecoin market, with more than 70% of the sector’s $158 billion market capitalization, and Telegram’s 900 million users, the fusion presents a potent opportunity for crypto to take another step toward mainstream adoption.

For instance, Durov announced on his Telegram channel that his app is the most downloaded in China for Android wallets, according to Google Play. A country with capital controls and a staunch anti-crypto government, China could see crypto usage explode now, thanks to the integration.

Incentives Program

To drive adoption, the TON Foundation – which has severed its official links to Telegram after the SEC charged the company with breaking U.S. securities laws when it offered the TON token to users – is allocating 11 million in TON, or roughly $66 million in incentives.

Incentives include 5 million TON tokens for rewards on USDT/TON liquidity pools across StonFi and Dedust; 5 million TON will be given to users for depositing USDT on the in-app Wallet; and withdrawals to TON from exchanges like OKX, Bybit, and Kucoin are free until the end of June.

After months in 11th place, TON now sits in the top 10 for cryptocurrencies by market capitalization on Coingecko. Its market cap has grown 300% since Jan. 1 from $8 billion to $21 billion today.

The rally mostly came in February, after the firm announced an ad-sharing scheme in which channel owners will receive 50% of any revenue that Telegram makes from displaying ads in their channels in TON.

TON Price chart
TON Price

But the move isn’t entirely without risks, considering both companies' recent encounters with authorities.

Tether has been targeted by U.S. authorities for allegedly enabling illicit activities through its platform, and although the TON token is no longer formally linked to Telegram, the SEC blocked Telegram’s planned $1.7 billion token sale.

But the stablecoin issuer isn’t deterred by the allegations. Ardoino recently teased an all-encompassing tokenization platform built by Tether, with features that include full asset ownership and an interoperable infrastructure.