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Messaging company Telegram starts testing its $1.7 billion TON blockchain


Messaging platform Telegram boasts 200 million users and last year raised $1.7 billion in an ICO for its Telegram Open Network (TON) blockchain. Files and instructions for users to test the blockchain have appeared online, allowing the creation of smart contracts.

This follows last year’s record-breaking ICO fundraising targeted at professional investors. It was somewhat controversial at the time, as by far the largest ICO to date, but for a blockchain which was vague on technical details. Hence, this open testing phase will be crucial for TON’s development.

One of the key aims of Telegram’s blockchain is to bring distributed ledger technology (DLT) to the masses. The instant messaging platform, released in 2013, and in March 2018 surpassed 200 million monthly users and is known as the go-to app for crypto enthusiasts thanks to its security. Telegram also integrates bots, actively used by over 50 million users, which allow for in-app payments.

With its huge user base, Telegram hopes to provide a user-friendly blockchain platform. This year’s TON whitepaper states:
“TON will allow easy integration with third-party messaging and social networking applications, thus making blockchain technologies and distributed services finally available and accessible to ordinary users, rather than just to a handful of early cryptocurrency adopters.”

“A light wallet and TON entity explorer […] can be embedded into the Telegram Messenger smartphone client application, thus bringing the technology to more than 200 million people.”

Not just for cryptocurrency, the TON blockchain can be used for smart contracts, service exchange, and secure file storage. It is technically a collection of many blockchains, with ‘working’ blockchains, containing smart contract and payment transactions, and a master blockchain to store general information and active working blockchains.

Telegram claims that this will allow them to achieve their goal of millions of transactions per second, rather than the usual dozens. It also sets them apart from single chain networks such as Ethereum and Tezos.

This recent testing client comes after last week’s release of Fift, a built-for-purpose programming language to use on the TON blockchain, and Telegram’s Virtual Machine, which executes smart contracts. Much like Ethereum’s Solidity smart contract language.