What is Toncoin (TON)

BingX
8 min readFeb 20, 2023

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There are approximately 22,500 different cryptocurrencies, tokens or projects in the crypto world. However, in the 15-years since the inception of this ever-growing industry, only a few of these projects have had a more interesting history than our today’s project.

Toncoin, also known as The Open Network, is one of the biggest cryptocurrencies out there, with a market capitalisation of almost $3 billion. It is constantly amongst the largest and best recognised projects thanks to numerous characteristics and features, which will be introduced in this article dedicated to Toncoin.

What is Toncoin (TON)?

The Open Network (TON), previously known as Telegram Open Network and currently recognised as Toncoin (TON) is a community-driven blockchain. It has a flexible architecture and shines mostly due to its transaction speed. The transactions per second (TPS) have been one of the main identifiers of TON for a couple of years.

Comparison of the main characteristics of Toncoin, Ethereum and Solana. Source: ton.org

For instance, in September 2021, TON reached the then-world record of 55,000 TPS during a contest. It is estimated that currently the network can do hundreds of thousands TPS, making it one of the fastest blockchains out there. Some even suggest that Toncoin is able to reach millions of TPS.

This incredible speed of TPS is achieved thanks to the scalability solutions that Toncoin has put in place. These are namely “multi-blockchain” architecture and sharding, which divide the whole Toncoin blockchain into smaller parts, shards, that can be processed independently.

And while this may sound like something that many projects are doing or aspiring to do, Toncoin has brought auditing firms CertiK and Slowmist to make sure that they are trustworthy. Both audits were completed successfully, discovering only smaller bugs, which have already been cleared away.

Toncoin uses a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. It has two main functions which the supporters and users of PoS can take. These are validators and nominators, both of which will be explained in greater depth later.

History of Toncoin — from Gram to TON

As was mentioned in the introduction, there are not a lot of cryptocurrency projects that would have a more interesting history than Toncoin. Ever since its first development in 2018, when it was created mostly by the Telegram messenger as layer-1 blockchain, Toncoin has had its fair share of problems and rejections. The project was firstly abandoned, after it encountered problems with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

SEC declared the ICO of the Gram, as was the project formerly known, a security, which is something that Telegram did not want. This meant that Pavel Durov, the creator and main person behind Gram, had to go through a series of trials and fought with court against this SEC decision. Yet, after his unsuccessful tries, he decided to step down and leave the project.

However, since TON was always open-source, the community of developers and supporters decided to step in, as everything was available on GitHub. They created the TON Foundation, which is the main organisation behind Toncoin to this day. They were also the ones to rename the whole project from “Telegram Open Network” to “The Open Network.

Currently the team is working on several upgrades and improvements. These include the likes of TON Connect, optimisation of voting or cross chain transfers of tokens that are created on BNB or Ethereum to TON Network. By the end of this year the team plans to update TVM, create the bridge for ETH, BNB, Polygon and Bitcoin as well as build in extra currency technology for other cryptocurrencies.

Team

As was previously mentioned, Toncoin started as Gram and was created by brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov. With the help of the Telegram team, they began the story of one of the most successful cryptocurrencies of today. However, due to problems with the SEC, they abandoned the project.

Currently it is mostly run by TON Foundation, which was developed around Anatoliy Makosov and Kirill Emalianenko. Initially they called their efforts NewTON, but later changed the name to TON Foundation, which is its current name. The project was renamed from “Telegram Open Network” to “The Open Network” and Toncoin (TON) became its building block, after it was renamed from Gram.

Toncoin ecosystem

Once the Ton Foundation got into the lead of Toncoin, things started to happen pretty quickly. This is best seen when looking at the whole ecosystem around this project. As of now, Toncoin has one of the most developed infrastructures and networks in the cryptocurrency space, with projects covering everything from wallets, gaming, social networks, to tokenisation and privacy. Here are just some of the different products, services or features the Toncoin’s ecosystem envelopes:

  • TON VPN: fast, secure, affordable VPN services with Ton Payments.
  • Tonstarter: first and the best launchpad on TON.
  • The Open Disk: sell your files with TON.
  • Tonox Minter: Web3 dApp allowing minting NFTs.
  • TON Box: storage provider with user friendly interface and encryption files.

Other applications, platforms or infrastructures built on top of TON also include Gagarin World, Now Tracker, TON Webhook, AppChain or AdBuy, amongst others. The whole TON ecosystem also contains wallets such as Web TON Wallet, OpenMask, Juston, TON Rocket, Bitpapa Wallet and dozens others.

TON also encompasses several gaming and gambling projects. These are for instance Punk City, Tongochi Game, Mines, Classic, Vegas or TON Roll. It also contains social networking spaces such as Tonex, TON Raffles, Tonika, Lite Services or Fox Tails.

Overall the whole ecosystem already hosts hundreds of different applications, dApps, wallets, exchanges or services that anyone can use. This is thanks to the platforms such as TON Services, which allows the developers to create dApps easily and without any friction. TON Storage on the other hand makes sure that private encryption is used to improve the privacy and security of the users. The blend of all the different features and projects Toncoin ecosystem has makes it one of the fastest developing cryptocurrencies in the world.

What is the difference between validator and nominator?

When the users want to not only join the network, but also be a crucial part of it and help with its growth, they have a chance to decide whether they want to join as a validator or nominator. Validators are entities that earn interest from validating transactions. This is completely the same as stakers in any PoS consensus protocol. However, there are some conditions under which one can become a validator. These are:

  • High performance hardware,
  • High-speed internet,
  • Staking of Toncoin — currently 300,000 TON (more than $600,000).

Some will argue that these requirements are over the top and that only a small group of people will be able to achieve them. And while this might be true, the team has decided to make sure that once the validators join the network, they will have a huge stake in it, making it illogical for them to try to cheat the system as their stake could either partially or fully be forfeited.

On the other hand, anyone can become a Nominator. Nominators pool their assets together and lend them to validators. They earn rewards on the assets that they lend. The smart contracts ensure that the nominators receive rewards, which are distributed honestly. Moreover, they also ensure that they lend tokens that are solely used for validation.

Tokenomics of Toncoin (TON)

At the time of writing TON, the native token of the Toncoin, has the max supply of 5 billion TON tokens, with about 1.2 billion already in circulation. With about $2.8 billion of market cap this leads to approximately $2.32 per TON.

TON plays several different roles in the whole ecosystem. Other than being used as a rewards mechanism, thus incentivising people to join the staking pools of validators and nominators, TON tokens can be used for payments, cross-chain transaction fees, voting mechanism or lending capital to validators.

Most important data points connected to TON. Source: ton.org

Other than earning the token, the users can buy it on several exchanges, with BingX being one of the major ones.

Pros and cons of Toncoin (TON)

After we have introduced some of the most important concepts of Toncoin, let’s see which of them can be classified as pros and which as cons.

Pros

Scalability: scalability and the transaction speed make this project one of the most prominent in the cryptocurrency world.

Ecosystem: the whole Toncoin ecosystem is one of the biggest in the cryptocurrency world and offers almost everything that one could possibly need or look for.

Privacy: there are many coins that come to mind when talking about privacy and TON should be one of them. The whole network is built with privacy in mind and the usage of zero-knowledge proofs only underlines this.

Cons

Competition: at the first glance it might seem that Toncoin is doing something unimaginable. But upon closer review, one can easily figure out that many of the steps and actions that Toncoin has taken, were previously taken by different cryptocurrency projects. This means that Toncoin might have a rather hard time establishing itself from the competition.

Validators: the extremely difficult conditions under which one can join the pool of validators makes it a bit challenging and biased towards a specific group of rich individuals.

Complicated history: Gram, Telegram Open Network, Toncoin, The Open Network — these are just some of the names connected to the history of Toncoin. One can look at all of this and feel like there might be something fishy going on with so many rebrandings. The trial with the SEC hardly makes it any better.

Conclusion

We will leave the overall balancing of the benefits and drawbacks of Toncoin solely up to you. Nevertheless, Toncoin is one of the biggest cryptocurrencies in the world, which means that anyone should at least try to examine it first, before making any kind of conclusions. The project has been around for quite some time, showed resilience and strong community and the growth of the infrastructure around it only points out to the fact that unless something extremely changes, it is not going anywhere.

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BingX

Founded in 2018, BingX is a leading cryptocurrency exchange, serving over 5 million users.