The Durov brothers fought a long and exhaustive battle with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the Telegram Open Network (TON)’s acceptance in the United States, which ended with an official announcement that the further development of the project was abandoned. However, the TON project was fully open-source. Using the TON repositories a group of independent enthusiasts came together, forked the best that has been built by the original Telegram team and ventured into a long journey of building Free TON.
The Free TON Community
Similar to many other PoS networks aiming at decentralized governance, there is a declaration underpinning the philosophical foundations of Free TON as a community and as a decentralized network. As the Declaration of Decentralization, a founding document behind Free TON, was being drafted a growing number of contributors have been joining the project – both on the technology and community development side, forming the Free TON community, by now forming one of the largest independent networks on the digital assert landscape.
How it all started? Well, there were people who were involved and interested in TON from the start. They became excited about launching the project as a community — spreading the word to their own networks. Eventually, it grew quickly from there as a community-driven project. Today, Free TON is a vivid community of 30k+ people all over the world, contributing daily to the ever growing codebase of the network. The Free TON contributors are much more community-centric. A wide range of technical developments have been made such as highly improved tooling and a multitude of protocol changes.
Key differences between the original vision of TON and the Free TON as it stands today can be summarized in three key statements:
(a) No corporate entity behind – Telegram as a messaging platform and as a business has publicly abstained from being involved further. In the words of one of the most active Free TON community members, Mitja Goroshevsky, “… when so many people spent so much of their time and effort on the project, just to have it suddenly yanked from their hands on the basis that money was raised in a way someone didn’t like, that’s devastating.” Today, the community is both the founding fathers and the key asset of the Free TON as an ecosystem.
(b) The protocol is built upon the ideals of decentralization upon both, the network and the governance layer. The original design was technology oriented and had little thought given to the game-theoretical aspects of the governance layer. Validators would vote to approve protocol changes… That’s about as far as the design went. Durov’s team was focusing on the tech and cost-load efficiency, not the tokenomics. There was simply no vision about how to involve the community in the platform’s governance.
(c) Distributional decentralization – the distribution of tokens happens as this is being written on a per-merit basis based on the proposals that are submitted on the Free TON Community Forum and voted for by the community and the validators.
But What Really Sets Free TON Apart?
In production, the Free TON blockchain achieves transaction speeds of less than 0.2 seconds, throughput of more than 10k TPS, with highly competitive transaction cost (less than 0.001% of transaction amount), and theoretically embeds infinite scalability through multi-threaded sharded architecture.
Community-launched, Free TON has never undergone an ICO of any sort, neither had the tokens been distributed according to monetary contribution of any sort. The challenge was to design game-theoretically coherent distributional mechanics while bound by the rules of PoS.
The design finally assumed is called the Meritocratic Token Distribution model. It starts from the community proposing a contest in which all other members can participate. The contest is debated, and soft majority voting is used to decide whether a proposal should proceed.
Another major aspect and core principle of Free TON is staying open source, community driven, and governed as much as possible on top of its own blockchain, which will protect against not only from potential hacker and security attacks on the network, but also ensure the stability via truly democractic/meritocratic on-chain approach to the evolution of the Network.
The Internet was born free and decentralized, then big corporations and big states took charge of it, now it’s time to return it to users and its decentralized origins, as Bitcoin once did in the financial industry.
Where Does Free TON Stand Now?
Today on December 8, 2020 initial members of Free TON blockchain announced the launch of more than 400 independent validators on December 22, 2020, making Free TON one the most truly distributed blockchains launched to date.
Free TON has the potential to change the blockchain industry carrying it closed to the frontier of mass adoption of applications like payments systems (think of Visa, Mastercard, Paypal), Messaging (Telegram, Whatsapp, WeChat), social media (Twitter, Facebook) and fulfill one of most prominent dreams of all Internet evangelists – a truly decentralized backbone infrastructure for the Internet itself.
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