What is TON or The Open Network

TON The Open Network blockchain guide
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An overview of key features and characteristics of The Open Network, also known as the TON blockchain

In this guide we dive into the TON blockchain, also known as The Open Network. Rising from the ashes of Telegram’s own initiative, TON is supported by an independent organization.

This guide serves as a quick introduction into The Open Network, or the TON blockchain. We hope to educate you a bit, get you enthusiastic and perhaps soon see you try out dapps on The Open Network which you have found through DappRadar. Through our mailing list you can always get updates on when new blockchain ecosystems get integrated into DappRadar.

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What is TON?

The Open Network (TON) is a decentralized and open internet platform with various components, including TON Blockchain, TON DNS, TON Storage, and TON Sites. TON Blockchain serves as the core protocol, connecting TON’s underlying infrastructure to form a complete ecosystem. Focused on scalability, security, and cross-chain interoperability, TON wants to process millions of transactions per second, aiming to support hundreds of millions of users in the future.

This is a promise we see more often from blockchain ecosystems. However, TON stands out thanks to its connection with Telegram. Integrating blockchain technology into an existing social media platform could accelerate the adoption, and of course from The Open Network in particular.

Key components of TON

The Open Network ecosystem features several essential components:

  • TON DNS simplifies user interaction by assigning human-readable names to accounts and dApps.
  • TON Storage provides decentralized file storage, optimizing data retrieval and permanence.
  • TON Proxy ensures privacy and security by masking user IP addresses and enabling private connectivity.
  • TON Payments facilitates transactions within the network using Toncoin, supporting various payments and microtransactions.
  • TON Space integrates with Telegram, offering a user-friendly wallet solution accessible within the messaging platform.

Integration with Telegram’s extensive user base enhances TON’s adoption potential, providing millions of users direct access to blockchain features and fostering interaction with blockchain technology.

History of The Open Network

TON’s inception occurred when Telegram, led by Pavel Durov, aimed to integrate blockchain with its messaging service for secure, fast, and scalable applications. In 2018, Telegram unveiled a whitepaper for the Telegram Open Network, raising $1.7 billion through a successful ICO. This project envisioned various services like decentralized domain name service (DNS), virtual private network (VPN), and decentralized applications (dapps).

However, legal challenges arose when the SEC intervened, halting the project in 2020 due to concerns over unregistered securities. Following Telegram’s exit, community efforts continued TON’s development under new guises like Free TON and later The Open Network, expanding its capabilities without Telegram’s direct involvement.

How does TON work?

TON is a scalable multi-blockchain platform built to support decentralized applications (dapps) and smart contracts. Utilizing a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, TON can theoretically support up to 292,292 blockchains. The network leverages sharding for scalability, allowing blockchains to split and merge based on load. Moreover, the network uses something called Hypercube to ensure the routing of efficient data exchange across the network. This would then allow TON to scale without sacrificing speed.

Validator nodes use deposit stakes to vouch for their reliability, achieving consensus through a variant of the Byzantine fault tolerance protocol. The network includes a masterchain and up to 232232 workchains, each with its unique ruleset for account addresses, transaction protocols, and virtual machines.

Features that make TON unique

  • Adaptive Infinite Sharded Multi-Chain Architecture
    Utilizes bottom-up approach grouping individual account chains into shard chains. The network also facilitates parallel transaction processing across multiple chains, which basicallt creates a “blockchain of blockchains” for enhanced scalability and flexibility.
  • Asynchronous Message Delivery and Hypercube Routing Mechanism
    Enables transactions and message exchanges without synchronous processing, while using Hypercube routing to maintain high speeds and maximize the throughput of the network.
  • Cross-Shard Transactions
    The TON network allows seamless exchange of data or value across different shards. This also ensures efficient communication between shards for high throughput and scalability. In addition, dynamic sharding improves scaling and performance.
  • Proof of Stake (PoS) Consensus Mechanism
    The network uses a more energy-efficient than traditional Proof of Work model. Like many other network, TON embraced the Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism. This reduces environmental impact, enhances transaction speeds, and also improves scalability. Each node in the network is chosen based on the amount of TON staked, which promotes a secure and decentralized validation process.
  • Smart Contract Economics
    Unlike Ethereum’s one-time transaction fees, TON’s smart contracts pay continuous rent for storage. Developers can fund contracts directly or charge users, ensuring sustainable economics and scalability. Moreover, the benefits the user experience.
  • Wallet Structure
    TON wallets are independent contracts deployed multiple times from a single public key. This design offers flexibility and the potential for innovative wallet types, such as multi-sig and parallel transaction wallets.

TON token

Toncoin is the main cryptocurrency of the TON blockchain, used for transaction fees, staking, governance, gas payments, and settlements. It powers various network operations and incentivizes validators.

TON primarily acts as the lifeblood of dapps, fueling their operation within the network. Toncoin can also be used to pay for gas fees, for example when processing cross-chain transactions. However, transactions with for example Telegram are free of charge. In addition, users can stake TON while securing the network, or use TON VOTE to participate in network governance decisions.

In a significant development announced in March 2024, Telegram unveiled plans to allocate 50% of ad revenue to channel owners, with payments settled on the TON blockchain in Toncoin. This announcement catalyzed a 40% surge in Toncoin’s value, showcasing a tangible real-world use case tethered to Telegram.

Closing words

The Open Network (TON) is a robust platform designed to support a decentralized internet. With its unique features and scalable architecture, TON aims to facilitate a wide array of applications and cater to a growing user base. Its innovative approach to smart contract economics, asynchronous communication, and flexible wallet structure positions TON as a leading blockchain network for the future.

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