Telegram, the popular messaging app, is breaking new ground by integrating cryptocurrency to allow its users to earn a share of advertising revenue on the platform. In a recent blog post, the company unveiled plans to leverage the Toncoin blockchain as the backbone for this ambitious project.

After years of experimentation in the crypto space, Telegram is now taking a bold step that could shake up the social media landscape. The move is a response to the platform’s massive user engagement, with broadcast channels receiving a staggering billion views per month – yet only 10% of that traffic is currently being monetized.

Revenue Sharing Powered by Toncoin

Under the new model, Telegram channel owners with at least 1,000 subscribers will be eligible to place advertisements on their channels. However, the real game-changer is that these channel owners will receive 50% of the revenue generated from these ads, paid out in Toncoin (TON) cryptocurrency.

Toncoin, originally developed by Telegram itself before becoming an independent project, will serve as the backbone for processing these revenue-sharing transactions on the blockchain. This integration not only tightens the bond between Telegram and the Toncoin ecosystem but also potentially exposes millions of users to cryptocurrency for the first time.

Driving Mainstream Crypto Adoption

With a staggering 800 million monthly active users, Telegram’s foray into crypto-powered revenue sharing could be a significant catalyst for mainstream adoption of blockchain technology. Many of these users may have limited familiarity with cryptocurrencies, but this initiative could provide a tangible incentive to explore the advantages of decentralized finance.

The announcement has already had a profound impact on the Toncoin market, with the coin’s price surging nearly 120% since the beginning of 2024, reaching a high of $5.41 before settling at around $5.04 at the time of writing.

Challenging Social Media Giants

Telegram’s move is a direct challenge to the dominance of social media titans like Meta (Facebook, Instagram), who have long monopolized advertising revenue streams. In 2023, while Meta raked in a staggering $135 billion, Telegram’s revenue from premium memberships was a mere $45 million.

By allowing users to earn a share of advertising proceeds, Telegram is not only disrupting the traditional social media revenue model but also potentially attracting a new wave of content creators and influencers to its platform.

Regulatory Hurdles and Geographical Limitations

However, the rollout of this revenue-sharing program has not been without its challenges. Initially intended for nearly 100 countries, the current announcement excludes several key markets, such as Russia, Ukraine, and Israel. Additionally, Ton-based advertising is currently unavailable in Germany.

These geographical limitations likely stem from regulatory concerns, as the crypto industry continues to navigate a complex web of national and international laws. Telegram’s previous run-in with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over its abandoned cryptocurrency project may have influenced this cautious approach.

As Telegram forges ahead with its crypto-powered revenue-sharing initiative, the messaging app is poised to reshape the social media landscape and potentially drive a new wave of mainstream cryptocurrency adoption. However, the success of this endeavor will hinge on navigating regulatory hurdles and striking the right balance between user incentives and sustainable revenue growth.

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