On December 3, 2017, Telegram Open Network (TON) released a 132-page white paper. 891 days later, on May 12, 2020, Telegram announced the suspension of the TON blockchain project.
TON is an ambitious project that aims to solve many of the known problems of existing crypto networks while taking advantage of the vast user base of the global messaging application Telegram.
Telegram, the company behind TON, was founded by the Durov brothers in 2013. Nikolay Durov invented the MTProto encryption scheme, which became the basis of the project. Telegram provides cloud-based messaging and voice over IP services, with approximately 200 million mobile and PC users.
The TON project is mainly related to Telegram Messenger. The main concept of Messenger is anonymity and user’s secure communication, which involves the integration of the cryptocurrency Gram.
Shortly after the release of the TON white paper on December 3, 2017, Telegram set out to prepare for an ICO.
On January 12, 2018, TON officially released the news of private token sales. The closed ICO of TON will be conducted in multiple stages from January to March 2018.
In the first stage of the ICO, the participating investors were carefully selected, including some people with close ties to Telegram, including Russian rich Abramovich, Jacob Bashvili and Solonin.
In the second stage of the ICO, anyone can participate in the investment. At this stage, TON raised $ 1.7 billion in funds, which was more than double the expected amount, so the third stage was cancelled.
Although the minimum amount of investment in the project is 1 million US dollars, there are still some small investors who participated in the ICO through partnerships.
The TON blockchain uses a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism and is designed to be an Ethereum competitor, with smart contract functions and shard-based scaling solutions. The network also supports local utility tokens, which are used as the main cryptocurrency for the in-app economy on Telegram, as well as commissions paid to the TON verification program to handle state changes.
In September 2018, the TON network was 70% complete. The Telegram virtual machine (similar to the Ethereum virtual machine) is almost ready to deploy smart contracts on TON.
In February 2019, the TON network was 90% complete. In April of the same year, Telegram conducted an internal test on the TON network, and people familiar with the matter said its ability to process transactions was much faster than other blockchain networks.
In May 2019, Telegram stated that it planned to launch the TON network in the third quarter of 2019 and released a “simplified stable version” of the TON test client. Through the released client, users can create simple wallet smart contracts in TON.
In September 2019, Telegram announced the launch of the TON Programming Contest. The task is to build a smart contract for the TON blockchain platform. The maximum bonus is $ 400,000. At the end of September, Telegram announced its crypto wallet with its network’s native token Gram, and the Alpha version of the wallet is available in iOS. Users can create and delete wallets, receive and send Grams, and share wallet addresses.
In October 2019, TON original investors were informed that the TON network will be launched later that month. Telegram provided investors with TON key generation software and asked them to provide Telegram with a public key to receive their Gram tokens by October 16.
In the second half of 2019, affected by Facebook ’s Libra project, governments, central banks, and regulators around the world paid special attention to the hidden dangers of such crypto projects and cryptocurrency supervision in anti-money laundering.
On October 12, 2019, less than a month before the launch of the TON network, the US Securities and Exchange Commission ( SEC ) “Take urgent action on Telegram and obtained a temporary restraining order.” The SEC said it did this to prevent Telegram from flooding the US market with illegally sold Crypto tokens.
On October 25, 2019, as most investors agreed to postpone the launch of the TON network, Telegram officially confirmed that it would postpone the launch of TON until April 30, 2020.
In the following months, the SEC and Telegram did not compromise with each other on whether the Gram token is an investment and related financial documents. The relevant regulatory agencies and blockchain organizations also expressed their own opinions.
Finally, on April 1, 2020, Federal District Judge Kevin Castel of the Southern District of New York banned Telegram from issuing Gram tokens to investors outside the United States. He said that Telegram claims that it can issue tokens to investors and ensure that the tokens will not enter the hands of American investors. This statement is not convincing.
The judge’s decision undoubtedly nailed the last nail on TON’s coffin plate, but Telegram did not immediately announce the fate of TON.
On April 30, 2020, Telegram postponed the release of the blockchain project TON for the second time, postponing the new launch date to April 2021. Telegram will also return 72% of the investor’s investment. For those investors who agree to wait for more time, there is an alternative option that can lend the investment to Telegram as a loan and obtain 110% of the original investment by April 30, 2021.
On May 7, 2020, Free TON, a decentralized community composed of software developers, validators and users, released the “Free TON Blockchain”.
On May 12, 2020, Telegram founder Pavel Durov announced on the Telegram public channel that the Telegram Open Network (TON) project will be terminated.
“Today is a sad day for Telegram and us. We announced that we will terminate our blockchain project.” He said in his blog, “Although there may be a network based on the technology we built for TON, but We will not have any affiliation with them and are unlikely to support them in any way. So please be careful not to let anyone mislead you. “
Durov believes that the obstruction of the US regulators eventually killed the TON project. He complained in the article, “Unfortunately, although people outside the United States can vote for their own president and parliament, they still rely on the United States for financial and technical purposes. You can use control of the US dollar and the global financial system to close any bank or bank account in the world, and you can use control of Apple and Google to delete applications from the App Store and Google Play. Unfortunately, 96% of the world ’s The population depends on the decision-makers elected by 4% of the US population. “