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A no-coder’s guide to The Open Network and Toncoins

June 15, 2024

Witnessed the meteoric rise of the Toncoin and want to build your own thing with it? This guide will tell you all about Toncoin, and how it works.

TON, or The Open Network, is a blockchain started by Telegram aimed at getting billions onto its platform for fast, cheap, and green transactions. It's built for the average Joe. Before dumping your money into Toncoin, TON's currency, check out this guide to get the lowdown on TON and what you can do with it.

Straight facts:

It promises lightning-fast transactions, minimal fees, and simple apps, along with being scalable and not trashing the planet. 

  • TON just rolled out TON VOTE, a voting system on the blockchain, which spiked Toncoin transactions by 98%.
  • Toncoin is TON's currency on this decentralized, base-layer blockchain.
  • Adding Toncoin to Ledger's hardware wallet made it more secure and boosted its rep in the market.
  • You can simply build TMA integrated with TON without programming.

Also, stay tuned: full integration with TON is coming to Directual soon.

Let’s take a look at what it is. 

What is Toncoin?

Toncoin is the currency of The Open Network, a decentralized, first-layer blockchain. It used to be called Gram and you can use it for paying fees, making payments, or helping to validate transactions with TON's proof of stake system.

It’s neatly tied to Telegram—an instant messaging app that tried to launch its own blockchain, called Telegram Open Network. They ditched the project, and the community took over, slapping on a new name: The Open Network. Sounds about the same, but very different indeed.

Oh, and by the way, to all of our Telegram enthusiasts: you can build wonders with Directual when it comes to Telegram bots. Check out this guide and see for yourself; it’s crazy. And check this guide out to see if you need a Telegram bot in the first place (hint: you probably do).

A short, brief, and utterly crazy history of Toncoin

In 2018, Telegram spit out a lite paper and a white paper for their Telegram Open Network, called Gram at first. They kept at it until 2020, raking in cash through private sales of these Gram tokens. By April 2018, they managed to haul in $1.7 billion from a token sale, making it the second biggest ever. After getting some hype, they sold even more tokens to companies worldwide.

Then Gram got too popular, which was more of a headache than anything. Scammers were all over Twitter before the token sale even started. Pavel Durov, CEO of Telegram, had to jump in and say they'd sort out an official way to buy into the ICO.

They tried to abide with U.S. laws for public sales, which meant dancing around SEC rules. The plan was to give tokens to investors when TON launched, trying to dodge the SEC's classification of the tokens as securities. That didn't fly with the SEC, which tagged the initial investors as underwriters and slammed Telegram for filing securities without registration.

Telegram scrapped with the SEC in court but got knocked down. By May 2020, Durov threw in the towel on the blockchain project and started refunding the early backers. Shame, but that’s life.

By the time Telegram bailed on TON, it already had a bunch of fans. The crypto world, full of geeks, saw what it could do. Since TON was an open-source gig and its code was just hanging out on GitHub, any coder with time on their hands could take a crack at adding new tricks to it.

Then there was Toncoin, cooked up as a sort of Plan B for Gram but not really a piece of the Telegram empire (though Forbes mentioned some Gram buyers weren't buying that story). The big drag with blockchain was its snail pace. Slow as molasses speeds and fat transaction fees were killing the vibe for using crypto like you'd use your Visa or Mastercard. TON was supposed to be the hot rod of blockchains, built to handle a massive flood of transactions every second. It didn’t happen right away.

The goals behind Toncoin

Bitcoin and Ethereum (by the way, you can build Web-3 products integrated with Ethereum on Directual!) might be big names, but they're a pain to use for everyday stuff. High fees, slow transactions, and a steep learning curve mean you're not buying coffee with crypto anytime soon. Ever seen Ethereum gas fees hit over a hundred bucks? Yeah, it happens, especially if you're moving a lot of money.

TON was made for the regular Joe doing regular transactions, not just crypto hoarders. It's supposed to slide right into an app that anyone can figure out, letting people buy, send, and stash coins without a headache.

TON's secret is its setup. It's built to be fast, zipping through transactions thanks to some fancy tech talk about cross-shard doodads. It can handle a ton of transactions every second without breaking a sweat. So, while Bitcoin and Ethereum are getting winded, TON keeps sprinting, aiming to get Toncoin into the mainstream with its army of Telegram users, straightforward tools, and lightning-fast speeds.

Toncoin and how it works

Toncoin is the go-to currency on its own blockchain, used for paying your way through decentralized apps. TON isn't playing the same game as other blockchains. It's built to handle a ridiculous number of users at the same time, thanks to something called blockchain sharding. Basically, it chops the network into pieces (shards) so it can do stuff faster and not get jammed up with too many pending transactions.

TON runs on a proof-of-stake system (PoS—not to be confused with another phrase using the same abbreviation). This means transactions get the green light using Toncoin, and those doing the validation get paid in Toncoin. There's also a deal where you can lend your coins to these validators and make some coin yourself. You just need to throw your tokens into a pool and stake them. Smart contracts keep tabs on both the money lenders and the validators, which is just a fancy way of saying everything's locked down tight.

You can toss around Toncoin using the @wallet bot in Telegram. Just set up your wallet, stick My Wallet in your attachments, and boom, you're ready to send or buy Toncoin right from any chat. And sending Toncoin through Telegram doesn’t nick you with any fees, so you can sling crypto to your contacts without getting dinged.

Selling your crypto hits you with a 0.9% cut, but buying is free of charge, which is pretty sweet for day-to-day use. A bunch of services and apps on the TON blockchain will take Toncoin, too. TON's all about cranking out new DApps—a flexible playground.

Toncoin lets you throw your weight around in how the whole network shapes up. TON is this big, decentralized club (DAO), where holding Toncoin means you get to vote on changes to the blockchain or its ecosystem. It's nice having a say in the community (Directual is the same, by the way!). The way they vote is straightforward, making sure everyone gets a shot at being heard.

Toncoin features

Toncoin is all about being useful and not wasting your time. They want to make it dead simple for anyone to use. The TON (of) nerds have been busting their backs to stuff it with cool features that make other cryptocurrencies look lame.

TON VOTE

TON VOTE, TON's own big shot at letting everyone have a say via blockchain, kicked off in February 2023. Built by Orbs with some fancy Layer 3 tech, it's a big deal for TON because it means voting on stuff is cheat-proof and anyone holding Toncoin can throw in their two cents on network decisions. Right after it launched, Toncoin trading went through the roof, showing people were really getting into it.

Toncoin isn't just for show; it's what you use to vote on all sorts of things that could shake up the network. The first big vote was about locking up coins in deadbeat mining wallets, and tons of people were all for it. It's a solid nod to how TON digs decentralized decision-making and lets the community steer the ship.

TON Foundation Grant

The TON Foundation is throwing money at devs to whip up new DApps and beef up its ecosystem. In August 2023, they dropped names on the latest bunch getting grants for some pretty slick projects to jazz up the TON scene. We've got Tali AI making life easier for developers with its AI tricks, and a Ledger app stepping up the game in managing and securing TON assets.

Then there's TonUP, a no-gates launchpad cranking up the volume on ecosystem projects, and Optus DEX aggregator, which is making decentralized trading smoother by mixing up liquidity from a bunch of DEXs. And don't forget Gatto, rolling out a play-to-earn game over on the VK Mini Apps platform. All in all, these moves are spicing up the TON ecosystem, drawing in more folks and ideas to the party.

TON Storage

Stashing stuff on a blockchain is old news, but TON Storage kicks it up a notch. Think Dropbox but with your own crypto wallet’s private key locking things down. It's like beefing up your storage's security, whether you're keeping your files to yourself or sharing them with the world.

TON Proxy

Blockchain folks are big on keeping things private. TON Proxy is like a backdoor for them, using decentralized VPNs and TOR-ish networks to sneak onto the TON blockchain. It's the go-to move for dodging censorship and getting into DApps without a hassle.

Smart Contracts

Just like a bunch of other blockchain setups, TON uses smart contracts to zip through transactions on the chain. Every smart contract runs on its personal TON Virtual Machine (TVM), which lets them get fancy with how complex their contracts can be.

TON DNS

TON DNS is TON's way of ditching the headache of memorizing those annoying long strings of numbers and letters for crypto wallets, accounts, smart contracts, and whatnot. It's like turning all that into a social media handle—way easier to remember. 

You can slap these user-friendly names on pretty much everything and even claim your own on the blockchain. And yeah, there are a bunch of apps, including crypto wallets, that are all in on making TON DNS a breeze to use.

TON Apps

The TON blockchain is packed with over 500 DApps and services running on smart contracts. TON Services is the toolkit for devs to crank out new apps on the blockchain. Users get to mess around with these third-party apps through a slick interface. Plus, TON's got a directory you can search through to find any DApp or service you need on the blockchain.

Proof of Stake Consensus

Proof of stake setups are the go-to for blockchains that need validators to push transactions through. It's a low-energy way to do business, rewarding validators based on the size of their stake in the game. Instead of snagging a new block, they get a cut of the transaction fees.

Heads up, you can't mine TON with the old-school proof of work (PoW) method anymore. As of June 2022, the last Toncoin popped out, and now the total stash can only bump up a tiny bit each year. TON's PoS method keeps things running smoothly without the grind.

TON Wallets

There are a ton of ways to stash your Toncoin and other digital loot from the TON blockchain. Right now, there's a whopping 743,000 TON wallets out there handling thousands of transactions daily.

TON's got both custodial and noncustodial wallet services on tap. If you're into hassle-free options, go custodial. If you're the type who likes calling the shots on your crypto, noncustodial is your game.

There were two main ways to deal with TON in Telegram: the @wallet bot for transactions and @cryptobot for managing your Toncoin stash. But as of September 2023, Telegram went big and baked TON Space, a self-custody crypto wallet, right into its app. This was a huge leap toward building a web3 vibe they've been talking about.

Dropping this wallet into Telegram—which has a giant pool of 800 million users—made a splash at the TOKEN2049 event in Singapore. Not surprisingly, Toncoin's price jumped with this move. TON Space started showing up in settings for folks outside the U.S. and by November 2023, it became the standard deal for all Telegram users around the globe, except in the States. This makes diving into crypto as easy as shooting off a text in the app.

Also, the TON Foundation said projects on TON would get the VIP treatment for Telegram Ads. This whole Telegram-TON mashup was supposed to happen back in 2019 but got sidetracked by a legal scuffle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over a massive ICO. Now, they're back at it, aiming to make crypto way more approachable for everyone and beef up the web3 setup on Telegram.

Toncoin, passive income, and you. Just in case.

Want to make some cash on the TON blockchain? The straightforward path is to be a validator, but the catch is, you need a pile of Toncoin, solid internet, and some good hardware. For most folks looking to make some passive income with TON, the easier move is to be a nominator, tossing your tokens into a pool and letting validators use them.

TON Validators

TON validators keep the network ticking by checking transactions. They get Toncoin as a pat on the back for every block they validate, thanks to the blockchain's proof of stake (PoS) system.

If you've got dreams of being a TON validator, you better have deep pockets: you need about 300,000 TON just to get in the game. On top of coughing up that chunk of change, you’ll need speedy internet and a rig that can handle MyTonCtrl, the software validators use.

TON Society

The TON Society is where all the TON die-hards hang out. It's a mix of people from different walks of life—all fired up about where TON is headed. This bunch includes everyone from coders to promoters, all pulling in the same direction.

They get together for events like contests and hackathons, where they can get soulbound tokens as prizes. These tokens are a mark of honor, plastered on profiles to show off each member's dedication.

The MVPs here are the web3 devs and hardcore TON fans, known for racking up awards and diving headfirst into all the community action. The TON Society is basically a worldwide club of dreamers, all about swapping value, info, and ideas in the most decentralized way possible, while sticking it to anyone trying to tread on freedom, privacy, and rights. Neato!

TON Nominator Pools

Nominator pools are like crowdfunding for crypto staking. Everyone throws their tokens into the pot for a validator, making it easier to get some rewards. When the blockchain decides it's payday, the loot gets split evenly across the pool's members.

TON rocks an open-source, decentralized staking pool system, cutting through the complexity and adding a layer of trust with smart contracts. These contracts are there to make sure the validators aren't using your tokens for a quick trip to the Bahamas—they're only for validation and get divvied up right.

There's a hefty 27 million TON already tied up in these pools. Looking to join the party? Head over to tonvalidators.org, and pick your pool. It's as easy as that.

Toncoin roadmap

The TON network is a one-stop shop for crypto users, packing everything from a self-custody wallet for handling Toncoin to buying options with your card and staking opportunities that let you accept payments from anywhere. It’s loaded with apps, domain services, and even a way to swap ERC-20 tokens. At its core, TON is all about keeping things decentralized and in the community's hands, with a roadmap that lays out everything from A to Z—what's done and what's coming up.

For the tech heads, TON dishes out resources like how-tos, a place for devs to mingle, and even a bug bounty program for those who can spot glitches. It's a playground for mini-apps, GameFi, and community projects.

The TON Society is there to pump up the engagement with rewards, while the TON Foundation keeps an eye on the network's expansion. The roadmap tells the tale of its start by the Telegram crew, its run-ins with the SEC, and its evolution into a solid, secure blockchain under the TON Foundation's watch. On the horizon are upgrades and new tricks like TON Teleport, TON Browser, and Wallet 5.0.

Is Toncoin safe to buy and trade?

Toncoin's initial coin offering was a bit of a mess, so some investors might tag it as riskier than your average crypto. Sure, all cryptos come with their own set of headaches, but TON had to jump through some extra hoops.

But when it comes to getting the job done, Toncoin isn't just sitting pretty; it's on the move. You've got millions using it every day, devs busting their butts to polish the blockchain, and a crew of validators and nominators making sure the PoS system runs like a dream. Plus, with its wallet now hooked up to Telegram and its massive pool of 800 million users, Toncoin's got a VIP pass to the mainstream.

And let's not forget about security—ON doesn't mess around. Despite making its network and goodies like TON DNS and TON Proxy user-friendly, it's all hands on deck to keep transactions safe and sound. They even toss cash rewards at anyone who can spot bugs or loopholes in the blockchain.

Telegram Stars

Businesses have already been selling physical stuff on Telegram through these bots and apps, but now they can sell digital products as well. This means e-books, online courses, game items, and more can be sold directly on Telegram.

Telegram Stars are digital cash you buy within the app. Now, you can use them to pay for all these digital goods. You can get these Stars through Apple, Google, or this PremiumBot thing, then spend them on whatever digital goodies you want.

Stars can already be exchanged within Directual (via the HTTP step), and soon you’ll be able to do that seamlessly via a special plugin. Stay tuned for updates—you’ll know about it as soon as it pops up.

Building a web-app with Directual

The process is extremely straightforward: activate a TON-plugin, add it to your web-page, pull the transactions from TON API. And that is it!

Afterword

Toncoin's not just for show; it actually does stuff in the TON ecosystem, like letting you pay for things without going through the banking hassle. It's simple to use, and the network doesn’t drag its feet—transactions are lightning-fast. As the devs keep piling on new features, Toncoin's only going to get handier and more attractive.

And also, of course, if you were ever thinking about building your own web3 product, now is a perfect time—Directual is integrated with TON, and can help you build whatever spaceship you dream of, and scale fast enough to go to the moon with you. Want to know more—head over to our communities, the links are in the footer below.

FAQ

What is Toncoin?
What is Toncoin?

Toncoin is the digital currency of The Open Network (TON), a decentralized, first-layer blockchain initiated by Telegram. It was originally called Gram and serves various functions such as paying fees, making payments, and participating in the network's proof of stake system for transaction validation.

Can I use Toncoin for everyday transactions?
Can I use Toncoin for everyday transactions?

Yes, Toncoin is designed for everyday transactions. Unlike Bitcoin and Ethereum, which can be costly and slow for small transactions, TON is built to process transactions fast and at minimal fees. You can send and receive Toncoin via the @wallet bot in Telegram without transaction fees.

How secure is Toncoin?
How secure is Toncoin?

The network utilizes a proof of stake consensus mechanism to secure transactions and incentivize validation. TON includes features like TON Storage for secure file storage, TON Proxy for privacy, and smart contracts running on TON Virtual Machine for complex operations.

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