The messenger-based cryptocurrency app, BUTTON Wallet, announced at TechCrunch Disrupt 2019 the launch of the first official crypto wallet designed to hold, store and exchange Telegram’s “GRAM” cryptocurrency. The news follows BUTTON Wallet’s first testnet on the Telegram Open Network (TON) blockchain last month, which reached 10,000 users in just ten days. 

“The TON blockchain is scheduled to launch on October 31st and BUTTON Wallet is proud to be one of the first GRAM wallets where TON investors can take advantage of holding, sending, and storing their digital assets. With the success of our testnet GRAMs, which allowed users to become acclimated to TON and BUTTON Wallet, we expect the momentum behind GRAMs to further mass adoption of cryptocurrency,” Rachael McCrary, COO at BUTTON Wallet, told me. 

According to recent statistics, Telegram has over 300 million active users. A large majority either hold or use cryptocurrency, which is why investors have anxiously been awaiting the launch of Telegram’s TON blockchain. The code for TON was released in early September and the network is on track to go live at the end of this month, allowing investors to finally receive the keys to their GRAMs.

BUTTON Wallet notes that their TON wallet will be live in November, following the TON launch. BUTTON will be one of the first GRAM wallets in Telegram, allowing users to send GRAMs in a peet-to-peer, secure manner using their Telegram usernames. Moreover, BUTTON wallet will also be providing GRAM exchange pairs, letting users exchange Bitcoin, Ether and DAI for GRAMs.  

“GRAMs will soon be released to the public for trading, which is why we are allowing users to exchange their cryptocurrencies for GRAMs,” McCrary said. 

Another Facebook Libra?

While Telegram seems to be following in Facebook’s footsteps with the recent news around the Libra token, the messaging app has largely proceed in secrecy in regards to GRAMs. Telegram’s efforts were clear in early 2018 when the company raised $1.7 billion from large venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. However, unlike Facebook, Telegram hasn’t released much in terms of public plans for its GRAMs cryptocurrency. In fact, Telegram’s CEO, Pavel Durov, has never even  publicly announced TON’s creation.

The only official confirmation from Telegram has been the registration with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the project’s SAFT (simple agreement for future tokens) – featuring the names of Telegram Group, Inc., Pavel Durov and Nikolai Durov, the CEO’s brother, who is also TON’s chief architect. 

Telegram has also released information noting that the TON Blockchain is scalable and flexible, made up of a master chain in combination with two accompanying blockchains. The TON blockchain can process millions of transactions per second and supports both micropayments and micropayment networks. The platform also has the ability to instantly process off-chain value transfers between users, bots, and outside services. These transfers are guaranteed to be as secure as transactions on the blockchain, due to safeguards that are built into the system.

The Future Of GRAMs

While the success of GRAMs will be interesting to watch, the BUTTON wallet team remains optimistic. BUTTON wallet was one of the few blockchain focused startups chosen by TechCrunch to exhibit at Startup Alley during Disrupt, demonstrating the potential of the team to drive mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency. 

“A lot of people are talking about new technologies such as Libra, TON and large banking tokens. We are actually bringing that to the masses right now,” said Alexandr Safonov, CEO at BUTTON Wallet.