Telegram launched a new collectible marketplace, Fragment, for purchasing decentralized usernames. The messaging app kicked off the marketplace by offering rare Telegram usernames as collectibles to be grabbed via auctions. The platform will eventually support both direct sales and auctions.
A Telegram account and a compatible crypto wallet are necessary to participate in the auctions.
What’s The Open Network (TON)?
Fragment runs on The Open Network (TON). TON is a layer-1 blockchain initially developed by Telegram’s founders, Nikolai Durov and Pavel Durov. It uses a proof of stake consensus algorithm.
TON ecosystem includes many services ranging from mobile wallet options to mining apps. A large number of NFT collections and marketplaces operate on the TON network. Ton Bridge allows swapping assets between Ethereum and TON.
Install the Tonkeeper wallet to bid on Telegram usernames
Users can bid on any live Fragment auction with TON’s native currency Toncoin. You can buy Toncoin using the Telegram messenger wallet. It’s also possible to purchase Toncoin on centralized exchanges like FTX and Huobi, as well as decentralized exchanges, including UniSwap and Pancake Swap. Toncoin is central to the TON ecosystem. It’s the primary payment method offered by all apps built on TON. It’s used for cross-chain transaction fees, blockchain domain names, and decentralized data storage, among many other use cases.
A prerequisite to joining Fragment auctions is installing the Tonkeeper wallet and funding it with enough Toncoin prior to connecting to the marketplace and bidding. Tonkeeper works just like other non-custodial wallets, i.e., if you lose your private keys, your funds may be lost forever.
TON DNS: decentralized domain names on the TON blockchain
The new username auction marketplace is an extension to Telegram’s earlier initiative, TON DNS, a decentralized domain name service.
Domain name services allow you to register human-readable names on the blockchain that you can use instead of long wallet addresses. The most popular one is ENS which enables registering of domain names on the Ethereum blockchain. By linking registered domain names to your wallets, it’s possible to set them as usernames, as well.
In the case of TON DNS, domain names can be used in the apps and services supported by the TON ecosystem. In other words, they can function as your TON usernames. So far, the company shared that apart from Tonkeeper wallet, TON Web Wallet and Tonscan services have integrated support for names registered via TON DNS.
The TON foundation first tested the idea of selling usernames via “auctions” through TON DNS last July. TON domains end with .ton, and like ENS domains, they are recorded on the blockchain as NFTs. That’s why it’s possible to handle them like regular NFTs. You can, for example, exchange them on secondary NFT marketplaces. For instance, they form one of the most popular OpenSea categories. TON domains can be listed on getgems and disintar marketplaces.
Telegram has more milestones toward decentralization
Since all domain names can be used as usernames or nicknames, and they’re all NFTs, a natural next step for Telegram was building a marketplace for collectibles to trade these items. Hence, Fragment was born.
The new marketplace marks an essential step toward Telegram’s decentralization. The company also has other initiatives in progress. One of them is Ton Sites. You can launch a web server with your website and make it available on the TON network to make a Ton Site.
The decentralized usernames or domain names we explained above can then be assigned both to crypto wallets and the Ton Sites. As a result, no additional domain registrations are necessary. TON DNS also allows acquiring subdomains just like regular websites.