Telegram, a popular messenger service, has been working on its own blockchain platform for a while. The platform, named the Telegram Open Network (TON), is around 70% finished according to Russian newspaper Vedomosti. Expect to see a trial version of this leading messaging service’s blockchain in the upcoming months.

What is Telegram Open Network (TON)?

Telegram Open Network (TON) will be a blockchain platform for running smart contracts and decentralized applications. It’s an extension of Telegram messenger.

TON aims to process data faster than Bitcoin and Ethereum. Additionally, it will offer money transfers, online browsing, file storage, and other services. Telegram Open Network will have its own cryptocurrency, named Gram, which will facilitate money transfers similar to Ethereum (ETH). Connected to a messaging app with 200 million users, TON will already have a significant user base.

They planned on an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) of Gram tokens in May 2018. This was going to be the sale of $1.20 billion of Gram tokens. If the ICO had taken place, it would’ve been the largest in history—even bigger than Filecoin and EOS ICOs, which raised $257 million and $4.0 billion, respectively. 

However, Telegram’s blockchain decided to scrap the public sale of tokens after they managed to raise $1.70 billion from private investors in two investment rounds. Decentralized social network Minds has also recently received funding.

According to a memo that Telegram sent to TON investors last month, the blockchain platform is 70% complete. Moreover, Telegram’s blockchain will launch a test version by the end of fall 2018, according to TON insiders.

Pavel Durov: The Man Behind TON

Telegram is the brainchild of Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov. Prior to launching the messaging app, Durov created VKontakte, one of the most popular social media networks in Russia. In 2014, Durov had to resign his post as CEO of VKontakte and fee the country to escape political prosecution.

Following the political crisis in Ukraine, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) started to put more pressure on Vkontakte. The FSB asked for information about Euromaidan activists: protesters who led to the Ukrainian revolution in 2014.

In addition, Durov said the General Prosecutor’s Office ordered Vkontakte to shut down a group dedicated to anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny. Durov refused to cooperate and had to resign as CEO. However, a major shareholder later claimed that Durov had other legal issues, including claims of embezzlement.

When to Expect Telegram Open Network (TON)

Telegram is a popular means of communication, especially in the cryptocurrency community. And soon, it will be integrating with a blockchain platform with its own cryptocurrency that mirrors Ethereum in terms of functionality. In other words, Telegram could soon become a leading blockchain company.

Specifically, you should expect to see a trial version of Telegram Open Network in fall 2018. To date, it’s 70% ready. Similarly, IBM recently launched a new blockchain payment system.