In April 2022, Telegram adopted crypto, enabling users to buy, sell, withdraw and send Bitcoin to other users through its Wallet bot. Now, the popular messaging app is expanding that service to let merchants accept payments in crypto from retail users.

On July 13, the Wallet bot added the facility for merchants to integrate cryptocurrency to receive payments from users. The system will support payments to retail merchants in Bitcoin, Tether and TON’s native token Toncoin. 

“With WalletPay, merchants can now seamlessly accept cryptocurrency payments within the Telegram app, with features available such as the ability to make payments directly within chats,” a Wallet spokesperson told CoinDesk.

However, the Wallet spokesperson also revealed that just two million out of Telegram’s 700 million users have adopted the crypto wallet bot’s services in the year since it was launched.

The Wallet bot is a payment solution built on the Telegram Open Network (TON) that was developed externally, although the Layer 1 blockchain itself was originally developed by the Telegram team. In May 2020, Telegram abandoned support for the project after a legal battle with securities regulators, and it was eventually forked by a community of independent developers. 

The TON blockchain uses a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism and features high-speed transactions, low fees and a relatively small carbon footprint. Although it is a Layer 1 blockchain by design, it is capable of achieving higher transaction throughput because it can scale by distributing on-chain activity across work chains and shard chains. 

Earlier this year, the developers behind TON disclosed they were venturing into blockchain-based data storage, which allows users to exchange files of any size in exchange for providing node operators with financial incentives.