The Telegram Wallet bot allows in-app payments in Bitcoin, USDT and TON

The cryptocurrency payment industry continues to evolve with a new cryptocurrency payment option coming to the cryptocurrency-compatible Telegram messenger.

Wallet, a Telegram bot that allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), has launched a cryptocurrency payment solution based on The Open Network (TON) blockchain.

The new Wallet Pay service provides cryptocurrency payment transactions between users and retail businesses, enabling direct payments within the Telegram interface.

Announcing the news on July 13, Wallet told Cointelegraph that the new payment functionality is immediately available in all jurisdictions supported by the wallet service.

Right now, this list of supported jurisdictions supported by Wallet Pay includes most countries except the United States and those blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force, a Wallet spokesperson said. For example, Wallet Pay doesn’t serve countries like Iran, Myanmar, and North Korea.

Because some countries where Wallet bots operate don’t allow residents to pay using cryptocurrency, the wallet service places compliance responsibility on local businesses. The Wallet rep said:

Businesses should decide whether they are permitted to do business within their jurisdiction before applying to use Wallet Pay.

The list of jurisdictions that do not allow their residents to pay for products and services with cryptocurrencies includes countries such as Russia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Iran, Egypt and others. Russia, which officially banned domestic cryptocurrency payments in 2020, is the second-largest country in terms of Telegram downloads after India, according to data from Statista. Indonesia, Egypt, and Vietnam are also among the top 10 countries for Telegram app downloads.

Top 10 countries for Telegram app downloads. Source: Statista

The Wallet Pays rep noted that the platform doesn’t know which merchants would be the first to test its payments feature because the company hasn’t yet rolled out the Know Your Business (KYB) process. The spokesman said:

We’ve had a few hundred requests collected by our support team, but we haven’t started the KYB process with these requests before launch, so we don’t yet know who will be the first to implement the feature.

The representative also pointed out that the company runs its operations independently of Telegram. The bot and the Wallet application are based on the open Telegram Web Apps protocol, which allows developers to build their own apps and services on Telegram.

The payment service is available through a dedicated Telegram bot or the official Wallet Pay website. Users should be careful to validate the origin of the bot if they plan to try it.

Related: Tourists are not happy with the ban on cryptocurrency payments in Bali

The new wallet payment feature supports three cryptocurrencies that are currently featured in its wallet service. These cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Tether (USDT) and Toncoin (TON).

Unlike self-custodial or non-custodial wallets like MetaMask, the Telegram Wallet bot manages a custody wallet with its own fee structure.

As of today, Wallet is a custody solution, the spokesperson told Cointelegraph. The representative added that the fees for crypto payments will vary from 1% to 3% during the beta period.

According to data from Wallet Support, the Telegram Wallet bot also currently takes a fee of 0.0004 BTC ($12) to withdraw cryptocurrency from its custody wallet. The withdrawal fees of USDT and TON are 2 USDT and 0.05 TON respectively.

Magazine: Asia Express: China Expands CBDC Tentacles, Malaysia Is Hong Kong’s New Crypto Rival