Telegram is a Dubai-based firm that focuses on instant messaging service (IMS), serving as an option to the popular IMS WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired for 19 billion dollars. However, Telegram focuses on security and speed.
In the world of crypto assets, Telegram commands a significant share of popularity, with many blockchain startups hosting their ICOs and community chats on the medium. Simply, it has replaced the once-popular platforms such as Rocket and Discord. Owing to the increasing popularity, Telegram experiences more active blockchain activity, even compared to Reddit and Bitcointalk.
If you look at the Telegram account of your average (but serious) investor, you will be able to find at least six startup groups in the blockchain space. According to Crypto Coin Trader, a popular Facebook community, traders are part of at least six to ten groups on the average. This could go up to 16 groups.
It is against that backdrop that Telegram decided to become more than just a blockchain intermediary. On December 22, 2017, Telegram through a Russian YouTube channel, launched a promo video for its blockchain solution, TON. However, even with nearly 200 million active users, only 11,000 people have viewed the promo video. Interestingly, this happens after the news for the proposed virtual currency started doing rounds online.
What’s The Big Deal With TON?
Earlier this year, a publication by TechCrunch revealed TON to the public. Other news quickly picked up the story and it began to take shape. Coincidentally, Pavel Durov, the CEO and co-founder of Telegram happens to be the developer of popular Russian social media app VK, a Russian version of Facebook. Durov was forced to exit VK unceremoniously in the heat of allegations of government involvement, when he failed to release personal information of particular VK users as the government requested. In the process, he left with less than what he should have received under full employment terms.
Cashing Out On What Was Lost
Now that Telegram seeks to launch TON, Durov will cash in on the profit he forfeited at VK. TON will speculatively be the highest grossing ever, regardless of price. It will depend squarely on the size of Telegram’s current user base.
“This is a very lucrative proposal. Some terms (of the deal) may stop us from investing, but we are sure Telegram will be successful at it and you could see a return of more than five times the ICO price,” said Alexey Ivanov, founder of Polynom Crypto Capital.
Delving Deep—What’s TON All About?
Simply put, TON will be a blockchain-based payment system. However, to help you understand it better, you need to know how WeChat works. This app is ideal for those who live in, spend some time, or have friends in China. But if you thought it’s just another run-of-the-mill chat app, you’re dead wrong.
In China, WeChat is a fitting option for Facebook and WhatsApp combined. WeChat also serves as a digital wallet, such that with WeChat Pay, you already have your digital wallet. Through the app, you can pay for virtually anything because nearly all merchants in China have a WeChat account.
Obviously, Telegram being a social messaging app, TON will incorporate a similar function. By bringing a transactions community on board, it embraces and disseminates the concept of WeChat to the worldwide market. This will initiate a transformative step in the way people process micro-transactions, remittances, and money transfers.
It’s a noble idea, but what makes it stand out? Won’t it be like so many other ideas built by blockchain startups? What makes this idea different is Telegram, which is a recognized company with a proven record of accomplishment, not once but twice. Besides, the brain behind the idea is a CEO who has developed two powerful social media apps of this century. If you are an insightful investor, such credentials should ring a bell.
TON Whitepaper Leakage
According to a report by The Next Web, Cryptovest was the first to leak the TON whitepaper, providing the details on Telegram’s plans for TON. Here is an excerpt of the problem statement according to the whitepaper:
“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 blockchain ecosystem needs a decentralized counterpart to everyday money—a truly mass-market cryptocurrency. Despite their revolutionary potential, existing cryptocurrencies lack the qualities required to attract the mass consumer.”
Additionally, with an opening statement like this, Telegram already knows quite well the value held by its user base:
“This paper outlines a vision for a new cryptocurrency and an easy ecosystem capable of meeting the needs of millions of consumers, including 200 million Telegram users.”
The TON Whitepaper Insider
TON is developed for mass adoption. The platform benefits from the early adopter crypto wave, on a foundation paved by Bitcoin and Ethereum. However, there is one key difference: Contrary to what happened to these platforms and common to most blockchain startups, Telegram platform already has a mass adoption. With the launch of TON, they will simply inject crypto into their system. TON was designed with a three-fold idea, based on the following:
- Speed and scalability: the platform should be able to process hundreds of millions of transactions for their users
- Intuitive user interfaces: average users should find the app as easy to use as a smart phone with a Telegram app installed
- An active user base: this will comprise of their already existing users and the one percent of the world population already engaged in crypto
As shown in the TON whitepaper, the creation of this program dates back to second quarter of 2017. They will launch the testnet in the second quarter of 2018, and the mainnet in the fourth quarter 2018. The company will add to the system all currently proposed features by the second quarter 2019.
The Blockchain: the TON blockchain will process hundreds of millions of transactions per second. This will solve the displeasure currently witnessed on Bitcoin due to network congestion.
The following design choices will enable TON to process that huge number of transactions at lightning speed:
- Infinite Sharding paradigm
- Instant hypercube routing
- Proof-of-sake approach
- 2-D distributed ledgers
You can learn about each of these in the Whitepaper.
The TON Platform
The developers will add the following components to the TON network, integrating them with third-party messaging and social networking apps.
- Distributed file-storage technology
- Accessibility through the TON P2P Network
- Availability for arbitrary file storage
- Torrent-like access technology
- Smart contracts used to enforce availability
- Storage capability that works like a distributed Dropbox
- Paves the way for more complex decentralized applications that require storing large amounts of information such as YouTube or Telegram
- Network proxy and anonymizer layer to hide the identity and IP addresses of TON nodes
- Similar to I2P (Invisible Internet Project)
- This layer can be used to create a decentralized VPN services and blockchain-based TOR alternatives to achieve anonymity and to protect online privacy. This will happen in conjunction with the TON P2P Network and TON DNS, TON Proxy can make any service including Telegram, effectively immune to censorship.
- It provides an avenue for third-party services of any kind that works with Smartphone-like friendly interfaces for decentralized apps and smart contracts
- Allows for a world wide web-like decentralized browsing experience
- A service that assigns human-readable names to accounts, smart contracts, services, and network nodes
- Easy access to decentralized services similar to viewing a World Wide Web website
- An avenue for micropayments and micropayment channel network
- Can allow for instant off-chain value transfers between users, bots, and other services
- Inbuilt protection to ensure off-chain transactions are just as secure as their on-chain counterparts
By incorporating TON into Telegram, the company will provide its users with the best of both worlds: access to and engagement with the virtual currencies right in their favorite messaging app. The following are some of the defining features:
- TON design supports light clients that can operate on mobile devices without using much resources
- TON light wallets will be combined with Telegram applications, to allow millions of users to keep their funds securely in the TON blockchain
- All security for the wallets belong to the sole owners
- Bot platform to exchange digital assets
- TON-based ad exchange on groups and channels
- Marketplace for digital content and physical goods
- Searchable registry for decentralized services
The launch of TON could be a transformative process in a bid to bring cryptocurrency to the public. Will 2018 stand out as the year for mass adoption of blockchain technology by the China masses? Find out more from the TON Whitepaper.