Telegram, an increasingly popular mobile messaging app that has already gained 50 million users, has seen some early success with its new Telebit feature.
Launched a couple of weeks ago, Telebit already has 700 users, a healthy figure in an industry with no shortage of wallet offerings.
Telebit is an integrated bitcoin wallet, accessible to all Telegram users, allowing for bitcoin transmission between users and to external addresses.
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The service is activated by searching for Telebit in Telegram, and then sending the message, “wallet”. You then receive a bitcoin address, QR code and an introductory gift of 0.00025 BTC ($0.06). The sending of bitcoins to other addresses is performed by texting within the app, using a set of predefined commands.
Bitcoins are stored with Telegram, not on the device. Off-chain transfers to other Telebit users are an internal accounting exercise and incur no transaction fees. If users are concerned with storing large amounts of bitcoin on the cloud, an external bitcoin address can be set up and amounts exceeding a given threshold can be automatically forwarded to it.
The advent of a bitcoin wallet app by Telegram is fitting. One of Telegram’s stimulating features is a contest, held periodically, challenging users to crack the cryptography securing a chat between two fake users. In late 2013, a user who found a vulnerability was awarded $100,000.