December 11, 2023

TON raises 8-figure sum from MEXC to make Telegram a Web3 super-app

The Open Network (TON) — a decentralized blockchain platform initially designed by Telegram — has secured major funding from the venture arm of the cryptocurrency exchange MEXC.

TON has raised an eight-figure investment from MEXC Ventures — a subsidiary of MEXC’s global cryptocurrency exchange MEXC — the firm announced on Oct. 4. In conjunction with the funding, MEXC and the TON Foundation have entered into a strategic partnership aiming to promote global Web3 accessibility by lowering the barriers of entry.

As part of the deal, the MEXC crypto exchange will provide marketing services and promotion for TON-based projects listed on its platform. The firm is also set to launch a TON collateral lending service and eliminate trading fees for the TON token. “The previous cost was the same for most cryptocurrencies on the exchange,” TON Foundation’s director of growth Justin Hyun told Cointelegraph.

Additionally, MEXC Ventures will continue funding TON-based mini apps in addition to its ongoing support of TON-based projects like the autonomous protocol Megaton Finance, GameFi platform TONPlay, Fanzee and Sonet.

With the support of MEXC Ventures, TON Foundation aims to increase the adoption of the Web3 ecosystem within the Telegram messenger, Hyun said, adding:

“The technology should be convenient and easy to use for anyone, no matter their knowledge of the world of blockchain. With TON on Telegram, crypto becomes as easy as texting.“

Telegram founder Pavel Durov has repeatedly pointed out the role of the TON blockchain in Telegram’s potential Web3 journey. In mid-September, Telegram integrated the TON Wallet as a mini-app, allowing users to access coins like Toncoin (TON), Bitcoin (BTC) and Tether (USDT) directly from the app’s interface. Durov emphasized that the TON tech has been developed by the open-source community rather than Telegram, stressing that TON Wallet is a third-party app.

Telegram was forced to terminate its involvement in the TON development in 2020 following a legal battle with securities regulators in the United States.

TON’s investor, MEXC Ventures, is a subsidiary of the centralized cryptocurrency exchange MEXC and was founded in 2018 and registered in the Seychelles, according to data from major crypto aggregators like CoinGecko and CoinMarketCap.

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MEXC is known for its flexible Know Your Customer (KYC) policies, allowing users to trade and deposit cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin without completing any KYC. According to the MEXC customer care specialist on Telegram, MEXC users are able to withdraw “no more than 30 BTC every 24h without KYC.”

Some people in the crypto community have warned users about the risks of using a non-KYC exchange, such as being unable to prove your identity if the exchange is hacked. Trading nearly $600 million daily, MEXC claims to hold licenses in Australia, Estonia and the United States, and it claims to serve users in 200 countries.

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This article has been updated to reflect that TON Wallet investment hasn’t been discussed by MEXC and the TON Foundation, and MEXC doesn’t have investment exposure to the wallet.