Since its announcement on June 18, everybody is talking about Libra and its potential to shatter the financial system worldwide. Every piece of news is matched against Libra, but since the end of 2017, just at the peak value of the Bitcoin, a bit of news appeared, although not as striking like the recent Libra event, regarding Telegram’s cryptocurrency TON.
The crypto-news website cointelegraph.com reported rumours about Telegram’s launch of a cryptocurrency and a blockchain platform naming “sources familiar with the matter”. This new coin and platform would be called “Telegram Open Network” -TON- and would be based on an improved version of Blockchain technology.
The originator of this information was Anton Rozenberg, a former employee of Telegram’s publishing division, also stated that TON would be able to aid those “under oppressive governments” as the Telegram app will hold the ability to send and receive money. Rozemberg also posted a youtube link to a video he claims is an ad for the TON Platform.
According to the information available at the time, the token and cryptocurrency of the TON project would be called “Gram”. Also, the TON platform would be able to natively integrate with popular messaging apps, although none specified. It will also make use of light wallets.
“Telegram ICO” was the name of the process of initial coin offering of the TON project with the objective to attract investors through the sale of the token (and cryptocurrency) Gram. A private Token Sale was held between January and March 2018 in several stages. Through this process, the TON team had the opportunity to select their investors carefully. These included persons who were trusted by the leadership of the TON project, among which were Roman Abramovich, Sergei Solonin and David Yakobashvili. The second round was left for anyone willing to invest using clean money. The third stage, the public ICO was cancelled because the funds collected during the first two stages surpassed their monetary targets by 200%.
Token Gram Summary
Ticker: Gram Protocol: Proof-of-stake Mining: no ICO target: $ 850 million Collected for ICO: $ 1.7 billion
Total issue: 5 billion tokens Telegram: 2.6 billion (initially frozen to avoid volatility) Selling through funds: 2.2 billion TON developers: 200 million
The TON White Paper
The purpose of this new cryptocurrency is quite similar to the vision statement of Facebook’s Libra:
This paper outlines a vision for a new cryptocurrency and an ecosystem capable of meeting the needs of hundreds of millions of consumers, including 200 million Telegram users.
Bitcoin has established itself as the «digital gold», and Ethereum has proved to be an efficient platform for token crowd sales. However, there is no current standard cryptocurrency used for the regular exchange of value in the daily lives of ordinary people.
The paper outlines the main issues with the current cryptocurrencies:
- Low transactional speed
- Confusing procedures to buy and sell a cryptocurrency
- The market for goods/services is limited because the demand for cryptocurrencies comes from investors, not consumers
- The current state of the blockchain technology is inefficient and too complicated to mass consume.
Outline of the Vision
- Speed and Scalability to allow millions of transactions per second and hundreds of millions of active users and applications.
- Intuitive user interfaces to easily handle buy, store, and transfer of value.
- An engaged user base serving as an initial critical mass to kick-off the ecosystem and allowing rapid growth.
- Telegram is the rightly positioned platform to establish the first “mass-market cryptocurrency”.
Integrated into Telegram applications, the TON wallet will become the world’s most adopted cryptocurrency wallet
The Telegram Open Network (TON)
Telegram cofounder Dr Nikolai Durov designed a novel solution to meet the speed and scalability required for mass operation, which he calls the Telegram Open Network, integrating speed and security into it.
Source: TON white paper
TON Blockchain main features
- Infinite Sharding Paradigm – TON blockchains can split and merge to accommodate load changes. New blocks can be quickly created, reducing queues and, therefore, transaction costs.
- Instant hypercube routing – Smart mechanisms to ensure the speed of the transactions.
- Proof-of-stake approach – Proof-of-stake approach means that the network validators deposit stakes to guarantee their dependability, reaching consensus through a version of the Byzantine Fault Tolerant protocol.
- 2-D Distributed Ledgers – TON can create new valid blocks on top of an incorrect block, as a self-healing mechanism to save resources and guarantee transactions.
TON, as a multi-blockchain project, will require unique network protocols. Ton will make use of P3P network protocols to access the blockchains.
- TON Storage: A distributed file storage system, accessible through P2P
- TON Proxy: Network Proxy anonymiser layer to hide the identity and IP address of the TON nodes.
- TON Services: Third-party services of any kind, enabling smartphone-like UI for decentralised apps and smart contracts.
- TON DNS: To assign human-readable names to accounts and the rest of the services, nodes and smart-contracts.
- TON Payments: The platform for micropayments, allowing instantaneous off-chain value transfers between users, bots and services.
Telegram’s existing ecosystem will offer easy ways to buy Grams, the TON coin, and also services to spend them on.
As of the end of 2017, more than 800,000 third-party bots are used daily by 52 million Telegram users. These bots can take credit card payments in 200 countries via eight providers linked to the Telegram Payments Platform.
The use of verified ID’s in conjunction with bots accepting credit cards, users could be able to exchange cryptocurrencies in a legally compliant way.
Groups and Channels
There are millions of groups operating in the Telegram ecosystems, reaching thousands of members and broadcast channels, some with several million subscribers. Public broadcast channels generate in excess of 30 billion views by 80 million on a monthly basis. The use of TON-based ads and monetisation of their work in Grams on a per-view or per-click basis will simplify the monetisation of the content creators and increase the demand.
Digital Content and Physical Goods
Bots, channels and groups are a readily available market for content and subscription services. Users could make donations or paying a fee to access exclusive services. Also, Bots can act as virtual storefronts for orders of tangible goods.
A Gateway to Decentralised Services
Similarly to Google Play and App Store, Telegram Gateway will list the most popular apps and services as well as recommendations based on the user’s history of choices. This will facilitate the spread of TON blockchain projects for the masses.
Other Uses of TON as a cryptocurrency:
- Commission paid to TON validators,
- Capital lending,
- Voting power,
- Fees for services (TON Services),
- Fees for data storage (TON Storage),
- Fees for registering blockchain-based DNS (TON DNS)
- Hosting (TON WWW)
- Fees for hiding Identity and IP Address (TON Proxy)
- Fees for Bypassing Censorship imposed by local ISPs (TON Proxy)
Source: TON White Paper
Currently, the TON is in test mode. Also, according to the information by cointelegraph.com, the project is not seeking any help or involvement by the community. Only a part of the total code is currently shared as open source, and TON’s repository code is managed by independent developers with no link to Telegram.
On April 11, a cointelegraph.com article revealed that the TON blockchain was being tested in a private test mode and was “showing extremely high transaction speed”. However, not specific figures were revealed.
According to Vedomosti, Telegram has opened access to a testing version of TON Blockchain to a limited number of global developers, including Russian dev teams.
The same article said that Oct 31, 2019, is the deadline for certain third-party agreements “for messenger service Telegram tokens” will be terminated if TON does not launch at that date.