Could Telegram’s TON Blockchain Drive Mass Cryptocurrency Adoption?
When the launch of the Telegram Open Network (TON) initial coin offering (ICO) was announced back in December 2017, the blockchain industry sat up and took notice, in a big way. At the time, not only were Telegram among one of the first companies with an existing and successful non-blockchain product to suggest launching an ICO; but more importantly, Telegram were already well regarded in the crypto industry as being the go-to platform for ICO community building initiatives and messaging.
Despite Telegram setting a hard cap for their raise of just $1.2 billion, it was quickly apparent that Telegram’s fundraising goal was setting the bar far too low for the growing messaging app which boasts a self-proclaimed 200 million users per month.
After quickly reaching $1.2 billion in private contributions, the TON ICO hard cap was raised to $1.7 billion, met shortly after, at which point the Telegram ICO was closed prematurely. In fact, Telegram’s raise ended before it ever reached its public sale phase. But despite Telegram’s early end to their ICO raise, the TON platform still became the second most successful ICO by amount raised in history.
However for some investors, to whom the ICO public phase was closed, the opportunity to invest in GRAM, the Telegram Open Network’s proposed native token, was scarcely recognized. With a $20 million minimum contribution during Telegram’s first ICO funding round, it was clear that only the big fish would get a shot at participating in Telegram’s emergent blockchain project.
By the successful conclusion of Telegram’s raise, it’s estimated that the most highly anticipated ICO of 2018 was offered to fewer than 200 investors, all of whom were invited to buy GRAM coins privately, leaving some observers skeptical as to why Telegram ever announced their plans for a public raise in the first place.
What is the Telegram Open Network?
The Telegram Open Network, unlike many of its 2018 crypto peers, isn’t simply just another re-hashed ICO project built on top of an existing blockchain. Instead, the TON will feature its own native chain, called the TON Blockchain, and likewise its own cryptocurrency, the GRAM coin; along with the TON virtual machine for smart contracts, and its own consensus mechanisms.
So, despite Telegram’s public token sale getting off to a rocky start, there’s still huge potential for the Telegram Open Network, and its native GRAM coin. According to the Telegram whitepaper, the TON is going to encompass both Telegram’s existing messaging app, which was established in 2013, and a whole host of other features which its crypto savvy users would benefit from.
These include micro-payments fulfilled in cryptocurrency via the GRAM coin, a decentralized application marketplace, and a peer-to-peer file hosting and ‘torrent-like’ sharing economy, similar to BitTorrent, all included on their own public blockchain platform.
What are GRAM Coins?
GRAM coins are the native unit of exchange for the TON blockchain, just like ETH is to Ethereum. Telegram’s native coin will be used for many processes within the blockchain, such as paying fees, micro-payments, access to decentralized applications, and attaching ‘value’ to messages sent through the existing Telegram Messenger app.
When Telegram launched their private ICO, it was offered to investors through a SAFT agreement for GRAM tokens. Recently, the Telegram team have publicly announced that the launch of their TON test-net will be live by the close of Q1 2019, which has prompted investors who missed out on the action of Telegram’s 2018 private ICO to explore new ways to invest in GRAM, specifically through derivatives.
A Self-Sufficient Blockchain Ecosystem
The company is striving to create a self-sufficient economy propelled by GRAM coins and the TON blockchain. By leveraging its current extensive userbase to drive growth and adoption, Telegram has all of the necessary infrastructure in place to truly become the world’s first mass-market cryptocurrency.
According to Telegram’s roadmap, they will start rolling out a suite of services in Q2 2019. This includes both TON storage and TON proxy. Users wishing to avail of these services will be required to pay for usage with GRAM tokens, further propelling real-world integration and adoption. Cryptocurrency exchanges and trading platforms are quickly moving to integrate the GRAM token into their listed digital assets.
Trading platforms like Monfex are even performing comprehensive case studies on the future impact of the GRAM token, stating that “Even under conservative assumptions, the cumulative revenue over the three years (2020–2022) could constitute $6.3 billion.”
The Bottom Line
It’s entirely possible that Telegram will be able to quickly grow and nurture a TON-based blockchain ecosystem that propels mass cryptocurrency adoption. Their dedicated pre-existing community showed an overwhelming willingness to contribute during their wildly successful ICO and it may be a precursor for things to come.
If Telegram deliver on their promise of a TON beta by the end of Q1 2019, investors could potentially see a heightened demand for GRAM tokens in the very near future.