Free TON is an ecosystem that can be used to launch decentralized apps via smart contracts. TON stands for “the open network”. The platform was created by the developers that were working on the TON (Telegram Open Network), blockchain platform associated with the messenger Telegram. The launch of Telegram Open Network was aborted but the code of this project was used to start a new multi-functional independent decentralized ecosystem that is called Free TON. Note that there are several other platforms based on the TON source-code out there. In this article we are going to focus on Free TON exclusively.
What Is Free TON?
Free TON is a protocol developed by Nikolai Durov in the late 2010s. It was supposed that the TON (Telegram Open Network) protocol will become a basis for the blockchain platform of the Telegram messenger. However, in 2019 due to the legal conflict between the messenger and SEC, the company had to drop its plans to launch its ambitious blockchain platform. However, the source code available on GitHub gave life to independent platforms not affiliated with Telegram. Free TON is one of them. The platform has its native token called Free TON Crystal.
The philosophy behind the platform is exposed in a document called Declaration of Decentralization. It is available on the Free TON website. In this text, the platform developers name the ideas they stuck with while creating Free TON. At the time of writing this article (April 14, 2021) the number of people who signed up the Declaration of Decentralization is nearly 15 thousand. The main goal of the project is providing people with an opportunity to maintain decentralized free digital identities that will allow them to enjoy free info sharing, freedom of speech, free software, equality, etc. In general, Free TON is aimed at making people more independent from political and financial institutions. The protocol is capable of creating a highly scalable network for millions of users and developers. The main driver of the network is smart contracts. Free TON can serve as a platform for cooperation between individuals and groups of people. The platform is seen as an alternative to official institutions.
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Free TON is made up of mainchain, workchains, and shardchains. All the blocks and hashes are in the mainchain. Workchains contain the smart contracts data, addresses, transactions, etc. Shardchains are made of accountchains meaning that each account is a separate blockchain. More than that, TON is designed the way that every element of the platform is a blockchain. Sharding helps to maintain a high speed of transactions and messages and prevent the system overload.
Despite being aimed at equality & freedom and lack of censorship, the platform prohibits the participation of the US residents in any form. Most probably, this restriction echoes the problems Telegram Open Network has with the SEC. It seems that Free TON decided to avoid such problems through this limitation which is not necessarily constant.
Free TON Features
Free TON can be used for creating new cryptocurrencies, new blockchains, new ecosystems. Also the network can be used as a virtual machine or to run smart contracts. In general, the functionality of Free TON is close to the functionality of Ethereum and/or EOS. Unlike Ethereum, Free TON is based on Proof-of-Stake and claims to have a stronger governance than EOS. Free TON team claims that the level of decentralization of Free TON is better than on most (or all) blockchain platforms in the world. Also, Free TON has an ambition to be one of the fastest and safest blockchains on the market.
Currently there are several projects built on top of Free TON blockchain. All of them use TON Crystals as a currency. Ton Surt is a browser that has a messenger, inbuilt bots, and a crypto wallet. Crypterium is a mobile crypto wallet. TON Crystal Wallet is a wallet for TON Crystal tokens. Combot is a bot for Telegram communities moderation. Pokerton is a Telegram bot for poker. The rewards are paid in TONs. Apart from these projects, there are several integrations in the development including Cointelegraph, Bitcoin.com, Decentraland, and so on.
200 validators, 1 goal, breaking records 🏆!
— Free TON (@CommunityTon) April 14, 2021
While signing up it is required to provide an email, a Telegram username, and a name. In the moment of registration, you should choose if you are going to sign up as an individual or an organisation. Also, it is important to specify if you want to be a validator, developer, or other type of community member.
TON crystals (native tokens of the platforms) will be distributed between three groups of community members via Giver contracts. These groups are Validators, Users, and Developers. As of April 14, 2021, the token is $0.59. There is no data over market capitalization. However, on Coinmarketcap we can see a daily trading volume. We can see that as of now this amount doesn’t exceed one million US dollars. 85% of TONs are going to be distributed via Referral Giver to community members who actively participate in the application distribution.
TON Crystal tokens are already available for trading on several notable crypto exchanges. You can trade it on HitBTC, Changelly Pro, Cex.io, and a number of less known exchanges. Free TON tokens can be stored easily on the user-friendly multi-currency wallet by Freewallet.
The consensus algorithm used on Free TON is proof-of-stake. It means that validation of transaction is based on the coins frozen as a stake, not on mining. This method is widely recognized as more eco-friendly than proof-of-work which is associated with mining. In recent years, numerous blockchain developers preferred to base their platforms on proof-of-stake rather than on proof-of-work. Validators are elected by TONs holders.
Masterchain needs at least 13 stakes in order to validate a transaction. The platform is designed the way that none of the community members who can participate in validation cannot have 1/3 of all available TONs or more. This is needed to ensure the decentralization of the ecosystem. There are around 100 main validators receiving and validating blocks from randomly chosen validators from workchains. Validation brings rewards. It incentivizes people to join the platform as validators and help Free TON to develop.