TON Labs Developers Sidestep Telegram to Launch Free TON Blockchain

  • The TON community has marched on to build the “Free TON Blockchain” despite the legal battle between Telegram and the (SEC)
  • The community claims that Telegram can no longer be involved in the project given the regulatory hurdles it faces from the SEC
  • A vast majority of TONs will be distributed among users for them to participate in staking for the new blockchain

On May 7th, 2020, the Free TON community launched the Free TON Blockchain and its native token dubbed TON Crystal (TON). The network was unveiled during a Zoom call live-streamed on YouTube.

The new protocol has been developed by Nikolai Durov and the Telegram team, which has thus far failed in their many attempts to launch the Telegram Open Network (TON) due to a legal conflict with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

As we had earlier reported, The TON Community Foundation had indicated on March 26th that it planned to launch the network despite the legal battle between Telegram and the SEC.

Following the historic launch of this protocol without any participation from Telegram, the TON community has effectively positioned the network as a provably decentralized blockchain.

Free TON Blockchain Won’t Require SEC Approval

The SEC recently won an important decision in their court case against Telegram over the legal status of the latter’s $1.7 billion Gram token offering in 2018.

The SEC has maintained throughout that the tokens sold were unregistered securities. On March 24th, the US federal court granted the regulator an injunction to halt the distribution of Grams as the legal battle continues.

This prompted TON Labs, a startup that helped Telegram run the test network for the TON, to launch its own version of the blockchain, with the support of professional validators.

The Free TON fork is currently supported by 13 validators and used code maintained by TON Labs. During the Zoom call broadcasted earlier today, TON Labs CTO Mitya Goroshevsky stated that the new network must not be censored, and “it must go to the world.”

To distinguish itself from the original TON project, this fork uses tokens that are called “tons,” not “grams,” as Telegram’s were dubbed.

Free TON Not a Mainnet, But It’s Not a Testnet Either

Sergey Vasilchuk, founder of the Kiev, Ukraine-based EverStake, explained that his team was trying to launch the alpha version, to see how this software works in real life.

Therefore, Free TON is serving as a proving ground for the tech before it can be launched in full, so it is neither a mainnet, nor is it a testnet.

Vasilchuk expounded on this notion by stating:

“The way we see it is as a testnet that has the real distribution but might – and will possibly be – rolled back to the genesis state at any time if there are vulnerabilities in the code and black hats [malicious hackers] decide to exploit them on the live chain.”

As per today’s announcement, anybody can join the part of the network by signing the Declaration of Decentralization (DOD), which is essentially a document that governs the Free TON Community’s operations.

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However, individuals and establishments in the US aren’t able to join the network at this initial stage.

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