TON is the long-awaited blockchain network that Telegram has been secretly working on since last year. Also known as the Telegram Open Network (TON), the ambitious project is scheduled to launch in a few weeks. But what exactly is Telegram TON and how does it aim to impact the blockchain industry.
Telegram’s TON Blockchain
According to a recent report on TON by Binance Research, TON is a sharding-based blockchain protocol that promises to deliver high speed and interoperability. It will also integrate blockchain payments into the Telegram messaging app that currently boasts close to 200 million users. If it delivers on these promises, the project could be a hit from day one.
Telegram has maintained a high level of secrecy around TON, refusing to publicly acknowledge the project. But that has not hindered TON Labs, one of the independent developers for Telegram, from openly talking about the project.
In a recent interview TON Labs CEO Alexander Filatov said that TON is “game changer” adding that it “will have access to the largest pool of users in the history of blockchain.”
Despite the mystery surrounding the project, Telegram recently released the code for running TON blockchain for the first time. It also saw the release of a new white paper, guides to TON Virtual Machine and details of a new programming language created by TON, called Fift. Moreover, TON’s consensus and sharding were also made available for testing to developers. However, users could only run nodes on the testnet, with a mainnet launch expected for Oct. 31. It is the first time the network has been subjected to a major stress test by the public.
The recent release also gives the public more concrete information about the project. The blockchain promises instant, secure transactions at a speed that its current competitors such as Bitcoin and Ethereum cannot deliver. It claims that it is capable of millions of transactions per second.
Another unique selling point of TON is that it integrates directly into Telegram messenger. This saves users from the trouble of having to install a new app program. TON as well as its native token, GRAM, will be available to Telegram’s entire user base, according to an investor who spoke to the New York Times. Telegram is leveraging the trust it has built over the years among its users to scale the GRAM wallets.
Besides, TON Labs is currently developing a Solidity compiler tool to enable developers to migrate their Ethereum Dapps to TON. The goal is to persuade developers to build projects on the network by providing easy access to a wider audience.
What challenges does Telegram’s TON face?
If TON was designed to allow people to make payments from their Telegram app, then it must address some issues first. The main concern is security, which the documentation does address adequately. It is not yet clear where and how Telegram will store user data. Experts have also warned that launching an untested protocol to more people is a risky business for TON.
Assuming that Telegram manages to launch sometime before October 31, it will probably take months for the blockchain network to stabilize. Investors, Telegram users and the broader crypto community alike have remained interested in TON blockchain project. But a purchase agreement for Telegram’s 2018 private token sale states that if Telegram doesn’t build a GRAM wallet into its messaging app by October 31, investors can ask for their money back.