The Open Network (abb. TON) is a third-generation blockchain-based decentralized computer network as well as a platform protected by a built-in proxy and anonymizer darknet platform built on the principle of an overlay P2P network that offers messaging services, payment transactions in the Toncoin cryptocurrency (formerly Gram), data storage, and an operating system for distributed applications. The TON concept was developed in 2018 by Pavel Durov and Nikolai Durov, the founders of Telegram Messenger and Russian social network VK.com.
According to the network's developers, TON was designed to provide prompt cryptocurrency transactions at a low cost and in a user-friendly way. Its creators defined TON as a blockchain-based ecosystem Web3.0 Internet with decentralized storage, an anonymous network, DNS (domain name system), instant payment processing, and various other decentralized services.
TON was founded as Telegram Open Network with the native coin called Gram, originally developed by the Telegram team. In May 2020, Telegram withdrew from the project after litigation with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
In October 2019, the U.S. SEC sued Telegram, claiming the tokens that have raised more than $1.7 billion of investor funds were unregistered securities and demanded Telegram halt the launch of the TON blockchain. Telegram raised $1.7 billion from 171 initial purchasers using a Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT). The company used those funds, according to Telegram, to "capitalize its business and finance the creation of its blockchain."
As part of the lawsuit, the SEC also filed for an emergency temporary restraining order against the company, which stipulated it would be unable to deliver or sell the Gram token to anyone. As further justification for the emergency relief, the SEC declared that Telegram has "committed to flood the U.S. capital markets with billions of Grams by October 31."
The backbone of The Open Network is a scalable multi-blockchain platform designed to process millions of transactions in seconds. It uses the proof-of-stake consensus and can contain up to 292 accompanying blockchains. The following are key components of The Open Network:
- Infinite sharding paradigm: The TON concept involves achieving scalability through sharding, as blockchains in it can automatically split and merge to accommodate load changes. Thus, block generation speed remains unaffected by the transaction volume, traffic congestion is prevented, and costs remain low regardless of demand.
- Hypercube routing: Hypercube routing mechanisms ensure exchange between any two blockchains regardless of the network size. Given the logarithmic relation between data transfer time and the number of blockchains in TON, scaling to even millions of chains is possible without impairing the processing speed.
- Proof-of-stake consensus: TON relies on the advanced proof-of-stake consensus where validator nodes use deposit stakes to guarantee their dependability and reach consensus through a variant of the Byzantine fault tolerance protocol. This resource-saving mechanism enables TON to focus nodes' computing power on handling transactions and smart contracts.
- 2D distributed ledgers: To avoid unnecessary forks, TON can create new valid blocks on top of any invalidated blocks. This self-repair mechanism conserves resources and ensures that valid transactions are not discarded due to unrelated errors.
Other planned TON platforms include the following:
- TON Payments : A platform for micropayments and a micropayment channel network. It can be used for instant off-chain value transfers between users, bots, and other services. Safeguards built into the system ensure that these transfers are as secure as on-chain transactions.
- TON Proxy: A network proxy/anonymizer layer for TON nodes. Similar to I2P (Invisible Internet Project), it allows building decentralized VPN services and blockchain-based TOR alternatives to achieve anonymity and protect online privacy. Combined with the TON P2P Network and TON DNS, TON Proxy gives decentralized apps immunity to censorship.
- TON DNS : Assigns human-readable names to accounts, smart contracts, services, and network nodes. With TON DNS browsing, the blockchain can be integrated with information-searching capabilities similar to the World Wide Web.
- TON Storage: A distributed file-storage technology accessible through the TON P2P Network. It is a torrent-like technology that relies on smart contracts for availability and can be utilized to store and exchange large amounts of data.
- TON Services : A platform for third-party services that provides smartphone-like interfaces for decentralized apps and smart contracts, as well as a World Wide Web-like decentralized browsing experience. TON's plan entails a searchable registry of decentralized services and applications.
- TON Workchains —TON consists of the masterchain and up to 232 workchains with different rulesets (i.e. different formats of account addresses and transactions and virtual machines for smart contracts and basic cryptocurrencies). TON's design aims to allow all existing blockchains to pool into a unified network to enable interaction between blockchains with stable performance while preserving decentralization.
TON's development team declared that exchanging value should be as easy as exchanging information and that blockchain technology can function this way. The network's design is guided by the principles of speed and scalability, in that the developers want the TON blockchain to be able to process millions of transactions per second; intuitive user interfaces, where the developers want to make a blockchain that does not require specialized knowledge to use; and decentralization, in that the developers want to ensure reliability, stability, and safety, without a centralized process.
By design, network modifications within TON are only possible if approved by the majority of validators via the proof-of-stake consensus. It is not possible to change network software, configuration, or state by bypassing the vote.
The TON Foundation is a decentralized community set up by Anatoliy Makosov and Kirill Emelyanenko after Telegram abandoned the project. It is a community of open-source developers that has supported the development of TON since the transfer of rights. TON Foundation's goal is to stay true to the network's design as detailed in the original whitepaper.
SEC vs Telegram Group Inc. agreement
SEC.gov | Telegram to Return $1.2 Billion to Investors and Pay $18.5 Million Penalty to Settle SEC Charges
June 26, 2020
Telegram Open Network (TON): What Happened To Telegram's Gram Cryptocurrency? | Blockchain Central
January 7, 2020
Telegram vs. the SEC: Telegram's Response - Telefuel
October 30, 2019