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TON platform from Telegram: technical description and first impressions


On January 14, the Telegram Open Media (TOM), created on January 12, published the first documents, which can be called a technical description of the future TON (Telegram Open Network) cryptocurrency platform developed by the creators of the Telegram messenger. Despite the fact that they were obtained from unofficial sources, a document entitled TON Technology, whose author, according to the text, is Nikolai Durov, gives the impression of genuine. The main thing: the Telegram team refused to use existing blockchain-platforms and creates its own.

This text provides a general description of the Telegram Open Network (TON) and the technologies of the networked blockchain network, P2P communications, distributed storage of information and related services. In order to improve the "readability" of the text, it focuses on the unique features of the platform, serving the achievement of the stated goals.

The technological part of the future platform does not contain any revelations - instead, the authors intend to use many of the existing developments that are expected to be applied in the near future in projects that are in various stages of readiness.

TON Blockchain

The basis of the network is the TON Blockchain. This is another version of the most promising to date concept of multidimensional blockchain, consisting of a lot of blockchain - shading, where each validator confirms only transactions related only to this shard. This system supports Turing-complete smart contracts.

As a method of consensus, the Proof of Stake option is used, in which the guarantees of the validity of the validators are their deposits - they can be confiscated in whole or in part, following the example of the existing consensus of Tendermint or the developing Casper. Unlike the Cosmos / Tendermint network and the Casper Ethereum, where any token holder can become a validator, TON provides a set of validators close to the static set, which is a significant drawback for a public blockchain.

A new set of validators is compiled every month (more precisely, 2 ^ 29 blocks of the main network), and its composition is known in advance. In Section 2.6.3, where the formation of validation pools is described, it is said (in fact, in the established terminology, which for some reason authors do not want to use, such validators are called master codes):

Those who want to become a validator must purchase and maintain high-performance servers and provide them with a continuous connection to the Internet. This is cheaper than the content of ASIC farms for Bitcoins; however, it is safe to say that TON cannot be dropped from a home computer, let alone a smartphone. [...]

TON introduces the notion of nominator, a node that lends the validator some amount of tokens, which he adds to the validation deposit, thereby increasing his rate. In exchange for this, the nominator receives a proportional share of the reward. [...] However, if the validator loses his deposit due to dishonest behavior, the nominator also loses his contribution, so he must responsibly approach the choice of his "own" validator.

In other words, the consensus is a kind of Delegate PoS system used in the Bitshares and Steemit networks, as well as in the future network of one of the TON companions - the EOS detachment. Disadvantages of such a system have already been discussed in sufficient detail previously. It is interesting that in 2.8.5 the author comes to the conclusion about the superiority of the consensus of BFT PoS over DPOS, which does not prevent him; nevertheless it is used, however, in an essentially modified form.

Comparison with existing platforms

A significant place in the description of the TON technology is given to the comparison of the future platform with both already working and in the development blockchains. The author offers his own classification of generations of the blockchain:

First generation. The only circuit, PoW, support for smart contracts is missing. Examples: Bitcoin (2009), many of his simulators - Litecoin, Monero, etc.

The second generation. The only chain, PoW, smart contracts. Examples: The Ethereum, at least in its present form.

The third generation: The only chain, PoS, smart contracts. Future Ethereum (2018 or later). Generation 3 ': Multi-chain, there are no smart contracts. Bitshares (2013 with DpoS).

The fourth generation: Multi-chain, PoS, smart contracts. PolkaDot, EOS (DpoS).

The fifth generation. Multi-chain, PoS, smart contracts, BFT shading. TON - 2018.

The author details the advantages of TON in front of competitors. In particular, his arguments against the Ethereum (the main target of the author, after all, the "killer of the Ethereum" is a long meme) are not without grounds. The transition from PoW first to hybrid PoS + PoW (Casper FFG), and then to pure PoS, will require a cardinal "breaking genome ", i.e., in fact, the creation of a parallel platform simultaneously with ensuring backward compatibility with all already created applications.

However, the reproduction of the advantages of TON over the listed blockchains are not so interesting as the absence of mention of other projects that can compete with TON and, moreover, are at a more advanced stage of development. In other words, in the description of TON technology, "convenient" sparring partners are chosen, and "inconvenient" are not mentioned, as if they do not exist. Given the skills of Nikolai Durov, it is difficult to assume that he is not aware, for example, of the Dfinity project, which has a clear resemblance to TON and at the same time has a Virtual Machine fully compatible with the EVM of the Ethereum. As for the fifth generation, in terms of technology, the RChain project is not inferior to TON, if not more. Therefore, a brief description of the information storage layer in TON practically coincides with the Special K - layer of distributed storage of files in Rchain.


According to all the same unofficial documents, the closed preselection of the project is already underway and institutional investors who receive tokens at a special fixed price participate in it. Tokens belonging to such investors will not go into circulation in less than a year. The basic ICO is scheduled for March 2018, and it will be conducted in accordance with the recommendations of the SEC, only among accredited investors and in accordance with the SAFT agreement. This scheme has already been applied in the conduct of the regulated ICO Filecoin, and its organizers have been severely criticized by the community.

In addition to the fact that only accredited investors can participate in the ICO, the following features have become known:

At the initial stage of active development of TON, at least 42% of GRAM tokens will remain in TON Reserve to protect the token's rate from speculative trading and to support the project in the early stages of the evolution of the system.

The remaining 44% (2.2 billion GRAM) will be sold in accordance with the formula under which each next token will cost more than the previous one:

p (n) = 0.1 * (1 + 10 ^ -9) ^ n USD

TON Roadmap

1st quarter 2018 - Launch of external identifier in Telegram (KYC / AML).

Q2 - Launch of the test network TON in the minimal version.

Q3 - Testing and auditing of the TON code.

4 quarter - Placing a stable version of TON.

4 quarter - Launch of a light purse TON, built-in Telegram.

Q1 2019 - The beginning of the creation of the TON economy in Telegram.

Q2 - launch of the service of distributed file storage and anonymous payment service.

First impressions

The first version of the technical description of the platform generates more questions than answers, and this is not unusual - in any case, it is necessary to wait for official information. All that is required of the Telegram team is a transparent system of communication with the community, and what is happening now is incomprehensible stuffing and lack of official information, do not increase the credibility of the project.

The technical part of the project does not contain any breakthroughs, however it adopts advanced technologies. True, it is possible that the technology does not excite the team in the first place. The main advantage is seen by the authors in another: this is the existing user base Telegram. It is the main competitive advantage:

In October 2017, Telegram had 170 million users a month. 70 billion messages were sent on the day.

In December 2017, the number of downloads of the Telegram application reached 5 million.

In the first quarter of 2018, the team predicts an audience size of 200 million users per month.

Of course, these figures look impressive, but do not forget that the audience of mobile applications does not differ loyalty and easily migrates to other applications. In addition, it should be noted that the first company that integrates cryptocurrency into its messenger - Kik, has not yet reached a special level, and even could not issue a finished product, although its ICO was held in September 2017.

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