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Is Telegram plotting a new cryptocurrency to rival Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple?

Popular messaging client Telegram is planning to launch its own blockchain platform and native cryptocurrency, according to a new report.

Expected to be funded by an enormous Initial Coin Offering (ICO) – the name given to the funds raised for a new cryptocurrency venture – the Telegram Open Network (TON) will be a third-generation blockchain that’s designed to improve on the perceived shortcomings of Bitcoin and other digital currencies like Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin.

Related: Best Bitcoin alternatives

What that essentially means is that TON should not only be less power-hungry than Bitcoin, it should also be a lot faster – reportedly capable of processing around one million transactions per second, thus eliminating the 24-hour waiting period some users experience when sending Bitcoin at peak times.

It’s understood that a number of large companies are working on their own blockchain platforms, but Telegram has an apparent edge on the competition in that it boasts 180 million active users – with a significant amount using the platform to exchange tips relating to the dramatic rise in lesser-known cryptocurrencies, like NEO.

Telegram is attempting to raise as much as $500 million in the pre-ICO sale, a round where tokens – otherwise known as currency – are offloaded to big investors at a reduced rate, at a potential total token value in the range of $3 billion to $5 billion. The news was first revealed by TechCrunch.

It’s looking like Telegram will debut its cryptocurrency – dubbed Gram – on its in-house messaging client, where it will exist as a peer-to-peer payment system that lets users send money to each other.

Can you see yourself using Telegram’s upcoming native cryptocurrency to send and receive payments? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.

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