Telegram Messaging Service to Allow Tether Stablecoin Payments

(Bloomberg) — Tether, the world’s most used stablecoin issuer, is launching TON to allow customers to send cryptocurrency payments using the popular Telegram encrypted instant messaging service. Partnered with the Foundation.

Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino said in an interview on Friday at Token 2049, a cryptocurrency conference in Dubai, that Tether is the “first full-fledged platform that functions not only as a communication system but also as a bank account. We can develop apps.”

The Open Network (TON) originally started within Telegram, but the company split from the project after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission claimed that Telegram’s sale of a token called “Gram” violated federal securities laws. Ta. Telegram and TON have agreed to return more than $1.2 billion to investors and pay an $18.5 million civil penalty.

However, the two remain closely aligned, with Telegram founder Pavel Durov announcing in February that the company plans to use the TON blockchain to share ad revenue with customers. TON Foundation Chairman Steve Yun said in an interview at the conference that the company hopes to drive more of Telegram’s 900 million users to the TON blockchain and cryptocurrency wallet, as many users are looking for easy and efficient ways to send money. said.

“There is a huge demand in emerging markets to store wealth in US dollars,” he said. Tether’s cryptocurrency is called USDT and is backed 1:1 by reserves invested primarily in dollar-denominated assets.

But diving deeper into cryptocurrencies could pose a challenge for Telegram, which is considering going public in hopes of monetizing it. Tether is the stablecoin most used for illegal activities, but it has come under scrutiny for its potential to be used to evade sanctions. The US and UK are currently reviewing more than $20 billion in crypto transactions involving Tether via a Russia-based virtual exchange.

Ardoino said Tether works closely with 124 law enforcement agencies in 40 countries and follows the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s sanctions rules.

“If requested by law enforcement, we can freeze assets if necessary,” he said, adding that since its founding in 2014, Tether has worked with law enforcement to freeze $1.1 billion in funds. he added.

Tether’s critics have also raised questions about the reserves backing USDT, which currently has a market value of more than $109 billion. Tether was forced out of New York in 2021 after paying a $41 million fine to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and settling charges of concealing losses and lying about reserves.

Ardoino said the company currently issues certificates on the assets backing its reserves on a quarterly basis, with more than $90 billion in U.S. Treasuries backing USDT and stablecoin circulating supply. It is said to cover 106%.

The British Virgin Islands-based company made $6 billion in profits last year, with $5 billion of that going toward reserves as it prioritizes redemptions, he said. He added: “We are working with Cantor Fitzgerald to provide access to tens of billions of overnight reverse repos.”

Tether is investing $1.3 billion of its profits into other initiatives, including crypto mining efforts, research and artificial intelligence. Tether announced Thursday that it has undergone a reorganization and created four divisions: Data, Finance, Power and Education (Education).

Ardoino noted that Tether is being frugal despite the windfall. “We don’t have to buy something very nice,” he said. “We’re not the kind of people who chase yachts.”

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