Yesterday, Telegram released a statement regarding Telegram Open Network (TON) and GRAM token.
Among various other legal disclaimers and assertions, Telegram’s statement touched on several facts surrounding their decentralized nature, and the relationship between the GRAM token/wallet, and Telegram messenger.
Perhaps counter intuitively, we see the updates shared in the statement as positive developments for the Telegram ecosystem, and we are now even more enthusiastic about building on top of Telegram than before.
Here are our thoughts.
Among the more controversial notices in Telegram’s statement was the fact that they will not be integrating a Gram wallet into Telegram messenger on launch.
We see this as strong validation of a thesis that we've long felt about Telegram: that increasingly Telegram will focus on developing and innovating at the protocol/network layer, and as they do so, Telegram will increasingly encourage third party app developers like us to build and innovate at the application level.
(This has been a necessary part of our pitch when asked, "Why won't Telegram build Telefuel themselves?")
There is a necessary growing pain for any organization or entity navigating a transition from centralization to decentralization, so while this transition will not be without it’s stresses, we believe the direction this moves Telegram in is healthy of the overall ecosystem.
Telegram is uniquely well positioned to navigate this transition as from the beginning they've maintained a 100% open API for third party app developers and 100% open sourced clients for third party developers to modify and build on top of.
Telegram deserves tremendous credit for having the for-site to build with such openness.
Additionally, Telegram explicitly leaves the door open for future integration:
In the mean time, nothing is stopping third party developers from integrating Gram token on launch.
Theoretically, there is nothing to stop Telegram's own developers from anonymously "forking" their own official clients and releasing "unofficial" Telegram clients with Gram built in.
Overall, we see this as a major tailwind for third party developers in the Telegram ecosystem, and are excited to be building in the increasingly decentralized paradigm.
We have long hoped that Telegram, like email, would grow into a truly open, decentralized platform/protocol, and while not without it’s growing pains, we see this announcement as a strong positive development in that direction.
We envision a future where Telegram no longer builds at the application layer, and instead provides open protocols and platforms enabling a thriving ecosystem of third party application developers like us to build the communication tools of the future.