Last month, Telegram saw itself in a slew of controversies when it reportedly refused to share users’ data with Russian authorities resulting in a long-drawn court battle.
Now, it has emerged that Telegram is reportedly testing user verification service on its blockchain platform Telegram Open Network (TON). The new service is called Telegram passport and will be used to store users’ IDs, bank statements and utility bills on TON.
Russian media sources quoted that developers at Telegram are conducting closed tests of a new service designed to store personal data. Users on the blockchain will be able to buy goods and pay for services on the TON blockchain with Telegram’s crypto token called Gram.
According to a local daily, Vedomosti, two sources working closely with the development team confirmed the tests. One source said all necessary documents and data will need to be uploaded to the messenger once, then through Telegram instantly transfer to their partner services and use their services both inside Telegram and on the main services sites.
When TON was announced, the website said, “A whole new economy will appear, filled with goods and services, which can be paid using crypto currency.”
Alexander Filatov, a partner at SP Capital said, “Telegram Passport will help to avoid the anonymity of crypto-currency payments, which is so worrisome for regulators all over the world.” Telegram is already in talks with several other partners. Although not a lot of companies have confirmed the alliance, one company called Qiwi has confirmed the news. The company is considering the possibility of a joint launch with Telegram, a man familiar with Qiwi managers told Vedomosti . However, co-owner Qiwi Sergei Solonin declined to comment.
However, the project is fraught with challenges. Alexei Prokofiev, partner at two venture capital funds, suggested that states will eventually switch to identity verification based on biometrics said, “It’s a matter of digital sovereignty.” However, he opined that if the messaging app does not rebuild its relationship with authorities, procuring license may be difficult.
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