What is The Open Network (TON)
The Open Network is a blockchain-based ecosystem that enables cheap and fast transactions, with the goal to unite other blockchains and the internet.
TON is running on proof-of-stake consensus and is being developed by an open-source community. TON's overarching aim is to create a true Web3 Internet with decentralized storage, an anonymous network, instant payments, and other decentralized services.
At its core, TON provides:
Speed and scalability to handle millions of transactions per second, accommodating an unlimited number of users and managing an array of applications. Traditional financial networks, like Visa and Mastercard, can handle around 65,000 transactions per second, which is similar to the current highest performing blockchains like Solana. The significantly higher speed and low cost of TON will revolutionize DeFi and other Web3 projects.
Intuitive user interfaces to help everyone buy, store and transfer assets in a convenient, safer and familiar way. One of the most frustrating aspects of crypto can be its inaccessibility for the lay user. TON aims to change that by, for example, removing the need for third-party extensions and wallets, allowing users to transact with each other and bots through simple messaging platforms like Telegram.
Decentralization to deliver a reliable, stable, and secure network for a self-governed world. TON will give developers the confidence to build for the long-term without compromising security or censorship. TON’s key components, from its layer 1 blockchain to its payment network and its suite of services lay the groundwork for a genuine Web3.
The History of the TON blockchain
In 2018, Pavel and Nikolai Durov, the brothers behind Telegram, designed a blockchain to process millions of transactions per second. The original project was called "Telegram Open Network" and a private coin offering ("Gram") raised $1.7b to fund the development of the blockchain.
The Gram token offering ran into problems with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in what was a very complicated ruling. Telegram had built an operational network, made good faith efforts to comply with the federal securities laws in raising funds to build that network, and engaged extensively with the SEC staff. Telegram's counsel argued that Gram was a digital currency (not a security) that could be used to purchase and sell goods and services on the Blockchain. However, the SEC claimed that Gram constituted an investment contract under the securities laws and the Court agreed.
Despite Telegram’s best efforts to prove that the ICO was not a sale of unregistered securities, the ruling meant that Telegram could not deliver any Grams to any purchaser anywhere in the world. As a result of preventing the tokens from reaching the intended users, Telegram was forced to abandon its fight with the US regulator and shut down the project (incidentally, without admitting any wrongdoing).
A few members of the SEC's own board dissented from this ruling:
“This willingness of the SEC to ask for, and of the district court to grant, such sweeping injunctive relief against a non-US company, in a case where one-quarter of the funds came from US investors, reasonably might raise some concerns among our international colleagues”. https://www.sec.gov/news/speech/peirce-not-braking-and-breaking-2020-07-21
Developers who wanted to see the blockchain succeed took it upon themselves to continue the project on a testnet. While there were different teams formed, the Newton group, which adhered to the original principles laid out in the whitepaper, ultimately received the blessing from the legacy team who handed over the naming rights and source code repository. Following the completion of the testnet, it was necessary to conduct tests on the mainnet, and the Newton team was renamed to The Open Network Foundation, a non-profit community contributing the development and completion of the TON Blockchain and its native token Toncoin.
As of today, over 40 independent non-incorporated developers from various geographies work on the project as part of the Foundation funded by donations.
With the SEC struggles now firmly in the past, the TON Foundation is about to launch the DeFi and Developer Programs, to encourage builders to develop an ecosystem that can flourish in the world of Web3.