Introducing the Telcoin Association and the formal decentralization of the Telcoin Platform

5 min readOct 19, 2023

This major release sets the stage for community-led governance of Telcoin and comes alongside the launch of the Telcoin Network testnet and new websites for both.

Today marks a foundational milestone in the evolution of Telcoin into a truly decentralized platform bringing blockchain-powered mobile financial services to telecoms and their subscribers globally. The launch of the Telcoin Association, a non-profit organization whose mission is to represent the interests of GSMA Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and other stakeholders in maintaining and developing the Telcoin Platform, sets the stage for Telcoin products to reach — and directly benefit — every mobile phone user in the world. It also coincides with the testnet launch of Telcoin Network, an EVM-compatible blockchain secured exclusively by GSMA MNOs, designed specifically for powering affordable, secure, and user-owned mobile financial services — or “MFS 2.0.”

The Telcoin Association website provides detailed information relating to who can get involved and how (Miners), the complementary systems that make Telcoin’s next-generation financial services possible (the Telcoin Platform), the processes and rules that make it all work (Governance), and the various ways each of these aspects come together and interact with each other. Alongside the documentation is a Governance Forum, where users can sign up to both submit and vote on governance proposals that will direct the future of the Telcoin Platform and its mission of spreading financial inclusion on a global scale.

Telcoin Association website:

The Telcoin Association documentation describes the many aspects of the ecosystem and legal frameworks for making decentralized governance official. Another important function of the website is to serve as a guide for GSMA MNOs and other members wanting to participate as network validators and application developers. At its core, the Telcoin Association is a blockchain consortium that brings together the most distributed industry in the world as a natural fit for running distributed ledgers as a network service.

Telcoin Network is the first blockchain to cater specifically to MNOs and their unique needs and strengths. It is the first and only blockchain to be exclusively validated by telecoms — only GSMA MNOs can earn gas fees. This unlocks major new revenue opportunities for MNO participants, while also setting the stage for future blockchain-powered financial services — including stablecoin remittances, inter-carrier settlements, tokenized loyalty programs, and other next-generation decentralized applications.

The website releases coincide with Telcoin’s participation as event sponsor at Mobile World Congress Africa 2023 in Kigali, the largest gathering of the telecom industry in Africa, which takes place this week. The Telcoin commercial team is on the ground in Rwanda sharing the news with MNOs, mobile money platforms, and central bankers from across the continent. Interested parties inside and outside of the conference can sign up for more information on the Telcoin Network website.

Telcoin Network website:

Telcoin Association Overview

As you read through the Telcoin Association documentation, it’s important to understand the broader context of what it encompasses and why we are eager to share it with the world after more than three years of putting the pieces together. Telcoin Association aligns MNOs, their suppliers, and their subscribers around a unified Telcoin Platform system, a suite of blockchain services, the TEL token, and a robust, community-owned governance system that harmonizes traditional legal structures with the ethos of decentralization. The following serves as a broad overview that we hope will act as a primer before diving into the documentation, learning about the inner workings of the Association, and becoming an active participant in governance.

Miners: The Primary Actors in the Telcoin Platform Ecosystem

Miners — including Stakers, Developers, Liquidity Miners, and Validators — are the driving force behind the Telcoin Platform. Each Miner Group plays a unique role in the production of the Telcoin Platform, harvesting TEL for completing various actions. Miners propose and vote with others in their Miner Group in Telcoin Platform governance based on the TEL they have staked on the Platform.

  • Validators: GSMA Operator Members secure the Telcoin Network blockchain, earn TEL gas fees, harvest TEL issuance, and represent their interests in governance with others in their Miner Group based on their TEL staked on Telcoin Network.
  • Liquidity Miners: TELx users provide exchange liquidity to decentralized financial markets on TELx, earn exchange fees, harvest TEL issuance, and represent their interests with others in their Miner Group in governance based on their liquidity staked on TELx.
  • Application Developers: All GSMA Members, not only MNOs, can develop decentralized applications (dApps) on the Telcoin Application Network (TAN). Developers earn transaction fees, harvest TEL issuance, and represent their interests in governance with others in their Miner Group based on their TEL staked on TAN.
  • Stakers: All ecosystem participants can stake TEL, earn from merchant acquisition and referrals, harvest TEL issuance, and represent their interests in governance with others in their Miner Group based on their staked TEL.

Telcoin Platform: The System and its Components

The Telcoin Association maintains and develops four principal components of the Telcoin Platform. The components are complementary and form a decentralized value chain designed to facilitate mobile access to decentralized financial products and blockchain services.

  • Telcoin Network: An EVM-compatible, public blockchain secured by GSMA Operator Members globally utilizing proof-of-stake consensus.
  • Telcoin (TEL) Token: The Telcoin (TEL) Token is the native token of the Telcoin Platform, and the gas fee token of the Telcoin Network.
  • TELx DeFi Exchange: A decentralized financial marketplace produced by liquidity miners, enabling on-chain, self-custodial exchange.
  • Telcoin Application Network (TAN): A network of mobile applications produced by GSMA members that facilitate user access to services across the Telcoin Platform.

Governance System: Decentralization, Empowerment, and Legal Representation

The Telcoin Platform’s governance system incorporates theories and frameworks for collective management of common pool resources, and applies that to a blockchain consortium centered around the GSMA and its membership. It is constituted, represented, and legally protected by the Telcoin Association, a Swiss Verein domiciled in the Canton of Ticino in the City of Lugano, Switzerland.

Telcoin Platform governance is a polycentric, democratic system of self-governance where the four Miner Groups, through various organizations, collectively share equal power and control over the rules governing interactions within the Telcoin Platform and its governance system.

Decentralizing Telcoin: The Process

The transition of governance from Telcoin Pte. Ltd. to the community begins with this initial release and culminates with the first Miner Council election. This process includes forum proposals, ratification, active participation by Miners, and elections.

We will soon submit a draft forum proposal for the community to review and provide feedback, followed by a formal TEL holder vote to approve and cryptographically ratify the Telcoin Association Constitution. Existing users will be able to vote with TEL held in the Telcoin App (staked and unstaked), with TEL they hold in a self-custodial wallet on either Polygon or Ethereum, and by using their TELx liquidity positions.

Telcoin’s commitment to decentralization, user and community empowerment, and a new governance model represents a pivotal moment in the telecom, fintech, and blockchain industries. The Telcoin Platform aims to create a global ecosystem benefiting all participants, and we look forward to seeing where each of you take Telcoin next.