Toncoin (TON): The Evolution of Telegram’s Crypto Initiatives

In Summary

  • Telegram’s crypto evolution: Trace Telegram’s journey from Gram to Toncoin. 
  • TON Network’s vision and integration with Telegram promise decentralized applications and digital assets.
  • Toncoin’s strategic pivot and ways it navigates compliance and privacy with Toncoin, learning from Gram’s setbacks.
  • Assess hurdles and prospects for Toncoin, leveraging Telegram’s user base in a competitive crypto space.

Toncoin is a blockchain network created by Telegram, the popular messaging app, in 2018. At the time of the launch, Telegram had raised $1.7 billion through private funding events to develop the Toncoin network, Initially, built as a competitor to Ethereum. In a white paper published in 2018, Telegram’s CEO Pavel Durov outlined the concept of the first layer blockchain of the Telegram Open Network (TON). 

With its massive user base and innovative messaging approach, Telegram seemed poised to revolutionize the crypto world. Central to its ambitions was developing the Telegram Open Network (TON) and its native cryptocurrency. However, the journey from inception to implementation has been riddled with challenges, delays, and regulatory hurdles. Despite setbacks, Telegram continues to redefine digital finance with Toncoin.

Also read: Why Hardware Wallets are the Gold Standard in Protecting Digital Assets

As of April 3, 2024, CoinMarketCap data shows TON’s market capitalization at $17,223,945,223, with a 24-hour trading volume of $186,402,493. The crypto is trading at $4.96, a drop of 1.3% from the previous day’s levels. There are over 3.4 billion TON coins in circulation with the maximum capped at 5,104,884,156 TONs. 

TON network

The Genesis of Telegram’s Crypto Ambitions

One unique thing about Telegram, setting it aside from other social media platforms, is that most of its features are free. A feature that has seen it gain quite a following and millions of users globally. To diversify revenues for one of the biggest social media platforms, Durov initiated an elaborate campaign to build a new blockchain-powered by telegram and its native initial token, Gram. At the time, Telegram wasn’t as popular as it is now, and the initiative did not pick up as expected. It was marred by subsequent delays and testnet postponements that upset optimistic investors, giving up on Telegram’s ambitious blockchain project. 

When the team seemed to make a breakthrough, the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) slapped the company with a temporary restrictive order prohibiting the private sale and distribution of the Gram tokens after the firm failed to respond to the SEC’s concerns. The worst happened when Telegram CEO Pavel Durov announced on May 12, 2022, that they could not proceed with the blockchain project. To revive Telegram’s blockchain vision, the firm changed the project’s name to Telegram Open Network, running under a new token, the TON, which remains free and easily accessible by all. 

The TON Network 

The Telegram Open Network (TON) ecosystem is designed to be a decentralized blockchain platform that integrates seamlessly with the Telegram messaging app. TON’s primary goals are to enable the creation of decentralized applications (dApps), speed up and scale transactions, and offer a haven for digital assets. Through the Telegram app, users engage with the TON ecosystem and have access to features like digital wallets, in-app purchases, and decentralized services. 

Transactions on the TON blockchain are processed by a network of validators, which secure the network and confirm the validity of transactions through proof-of-stake consensus. Smart contracts enable programmable logic within the TON ecosystem, allowing for the creation of automated agreements and decentralized governance mechanisms.

The Birth of Toncoin (TON)

Undeterred by regulatory setbacks, Telegram pressed forward with its crypto initiatives, albeit with a revised strategy. In May 2020, Telegram announced the termination of the TON project, signaling the end of Gram’s aspirations as a widely traded cryptocurrency. However, the story did not end there. Instead of abandoning its blockchain ambitions, Telegram pivoted towards a new venture: Toncoin.

Toncoin represents Telegram’s reimagining of its crypto endeavors, taking lessons from the Gram saga and applying them to a fresh approach. Rather than pursuing a traditional ICO, Telegram opted for a more cautious and compliant path. Toncoin’s distribution model emphasizes transparency and regulatory compliance, aiming to avoid the pitfalls that plagued Gram’s journey.

Toncoin’s Future

While details about Toncoin’s technical specifications and roadmap remain scarce, Telegram has hinted at its broader vision for the project. Toncoin aims to leverage Telegram’s extensive user base and ecosystem to integrate messaging and finance seamlessly. Features such as in-app payments, decentralized applications (dApps), and tokenized assets could unlock new possibilities for Telegram users, transforming the platform into a hub for digital commerce and innovation. Furthermore, Telegram’s commitment to privacy and security could set Toncoin apart in an increasingly regulated landscape. By prioritizing user anonymity and data protection, Toncoin addresses concerns about surveillance and censorship that have plagued traditional financial systems.

Challenges and Opportunities

Telegram faces many potential obstacles as it develops Toncoin further. Regulatory compliance is still important and necessitates carefully navigating many nations’ intricate regulatory frameworks. Toncoin’s acceptance and significance are further hampered by competition from well-known cryptocurrencies and developing blockchain technologies. However, Telegram also enjoys distinct advantages, including its massive user base and brand recognition. By leveraging these strengths and fostering partnerships with key stakeholders, Telegram could carve out a unique niche in the crypto market with Toncoin.


Along Telegram’s path into cryptocurrency, there have been highs and lows, failures, and victories. It has proven resilient and adaptable, showing resilience and adaptation in the face of difficulty, from the audacious goal of TON and Gram to the revised strategy with Toncoin. While the future of Toncoin remains uncertain, one thing is clear: Telegram remains committed to its mission of transforming digital finance and empowering users with greater control over their financial lives. Whether Toncoin achieves widespread adoption and fulfills its potential as a revolutionary digital currency remains to be seen. Still, one thing is certain: the evolution of Telegram’s crypto initiatives is a story worth watching.

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