Telegram messenger has introduced a new cryptocurrency payment option called Wallet Pay, allowing users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies within the app. The payment solution is based on The Open Network (TON) blockchain and aims to facilitate direct payments between users and retail businesses.
On July 13, Wallet, the Telegram bot behind Wallet Pay, announced the launch of this new feature. The service is immediately available in all jurisdictions that are supported by the wallet service, except for the United States and countries blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force. This means that Wallet Pay does not serve countries like Iran, Myanmar, and North Korea.
As some countries do not allow residents to make payments using cryptocurrencies, the responsibility for compliance falls on local businesses. A spokesperson for Wallet stated that businesses should ensure they are allowed to transact within their jurisdiction before applying to use Wallet Pay.
Countries such as Russia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Iran, Egypt, and others do not allow their residents to use cryptocurrencies for payments. Russia, in particular, banned domestic crypto payments in 2020 and is the second-largest country in terms of Telegram downloads. Indonesia, Egypt, and Vietnam also rank among the top 10 countries for Telegram app downloads.
While Wallet Pay is not aware of the merchants that will test its payment feature, the Know Your Business (KYB) procedure has yet to be launched. However, the spokesperson mentioned that they have collected several hundred requests from merchants interested in implementing the feature.
It is important to note that Wallet operates independently from Telegram. The Wallet bot and application are built on the Telegram Web Apps open protocol, which allows developers to create their own apps and services on Telegram.
To access the payment service, users can use the dedicated Telegram bot or visit the official Wallet Pay website. It is crucial to verify the source of the bot to ensure its legitimacy.
Wallet Pay currently supports three cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Tether (USDT), and Toncoin (TON). Unlike self-custodial wallets like MetaMask, Wallet operates as a custodial wallet with its own fee structure. During the beta period, fees for crypto payments will range from 1% to 3%.
Furthermore, Wallet charges a commission for withdrawing cryptocurrencies from its custodial wallet. The current withdrawal fees are 0.0004 BTC ($12) for Bitcoin, 2 USDT for Tether, and 0.05 TON for Toncoin.
This new cryptocurrency payment option within Telegram messenger demonstrates the continued evolution of the cryptocurrency payment industry. With Wallet Pay, users can conveniently transact with cryptocurrencies directly within the Telegram interface, expanding the reach and accessibility of digital currencies to a wider audience. As more jurisdictions embrace cryptocurrency payments, it will be interesting to see how Wallet Pay evolves and adapts to meet the growing demand for this innovative payment solution.