What to know about Toncoin: a crypto project by Telegram creators, defeated by SEC, that got a second life thanks to the crypto community

Cratos Official
4 min readJan 31, 2022

Toncoin (formerly Ton) was an ambitious project of Telegram creator Pavel Durov. The potential of Telegram offered enormous growth prospects for its token. The project was never implemented, but new enthusiasts picked up on the original ideas, and Toncoin is gradually gaining popularity against all odds. We tell you about the history and key benefits of the Toncoin token.

First steps

In the spring of 2017, brothers Pavel and Nikolai Durov, the founders of Telegram, announced Telegram Open Network (TON). It was an ambitious project aimed to solve existing problems with the scalability and speed of current blockchains. It was to be a fast, inexpensive, and infinitely expandable protocol for transactions of all types. All of the disparate blockchains were to merge into a single decentralized network using this technology.

The success of such an innovative project promised to make the token of the new currency the most valuable, and the Telegram messenger would get a much more prominent status than “one of the most popular messengers in the world”. This was a new approach for monetizing Telegram. The project was described in detail with the release of the official white paper.

What would be possible with the implementation of TON? Here are just a few key things that are enough to understand the ambitions of the team.

  • The potential to become the first decentralized application platform on the scale of the Apple Store and Google Play
  • Paying for content and subscriptions on Telegram with internal GRAM token
  • Buying goods and services via Telegram bots
  • Visa and Mastercard-level transaction speed, but no centralized control

All this was served under the “sauce” of decentralization, where the trade and market relations were influenced directly by the market participants without any higher financial instances.

The concept attracted huge interest from investors. More than 170 companies and individuals took part in the two stages of investment, including well-known personalities such as Roman Abramovich and Jared Leto. As a result, $1.7 billion was raised. Only EOS was ahead with $4 billion. It seemed that a global change in the crypto market was coming.

SEC objections and the departure of the creators

US regulator SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) had its views on the situation as opposed to the general enthusiasm. They investigated, which concerns the launch of any project of this scale, to prevent possible financial fraud.

As a result, the commission concluded that TON could be a scheme with the possibility of investors making money from reselling the GRAM token on the open markets. The SEC recognized Durov’s tokens as securities and banned the activity. A U.S. court found the regulator’s arguments valid and issued a ban on TON activities in the U.S. in 2019. The creators of Telegram Open Network for almost another year tried to find compromises. They even offered to distribute the token without the participation of US residents, but the opponents were adamant.

In May 2020, Pavel Durov announced his departure from the project. He left the TON documentation in the public domain and wished the enthusiasts to finish what they had started. The investors requested a refund. It is known that TON returned at least $1.2 billion to the project participants.

A new beginning

Durov’s ideas were indeed picked up by crypto-enthusiasts. A new team of developers called themselves the TON Foundation. They renamed the project Toncoin. Pavel Durov openly declared his complete non-participation in “TON 2.0” and was happy with the ongoing development of his original ideas.

The availability of open source led to widespread participation of everyone who wished to further implement the project. At the beginning of the new phase, there were several parallel projects, such as FreeTON and the Chinese TON Community. The work in the original testnet2 network was continued by those who called themselves NewTON Blockchain (the first name of TON Foundation).

The new team has no obvious leader, and many interested parties take part in the development. At the same time, Anatoly Makosov and Kirill Emelianenko are named as the main personalities. They were not related to Pavel Durov initially, but were personally acquainted and got access to the source code by direct request.

Over time, Toncoin took shape as a product company. Today the team has about 60 members, including developers, designers, marketers, and business developers. The current connection of this blockchain to Telegram is interesting. After the TON debacle, Pavel Durov launched an alternative monetization plan for his messenger and introduced paid advertising there. Toncoin became the first partner project among blockchains to advertise here.

Toncoin and its purposes right now

The Toncoin advertisement in Telegram happened in the background of the release of the token with the same name in the listings of cryptocurrency exchanges OKEx and FTX. This happened on November 12, 2021. The Coin began to actively grow in value and soon entered the top 200 most valuable cryptocurrencies in the world.

Interest in this cryptocurrency is growing now in 2022, and experts expect points the possible total capitalization at the level of $60–500 billion shortly. Time will show the validity of the announcements, but so far there are no prerequisites for the fall. Toncoin is systematically developing and, who knows, soon it will come close to implementation of the initial plan. At the very least, we get a decent cryptocurrency market player, and in the long run, it could be the flagship of the crypto world, given the next generation of technology it has built-in. Let’s see how the new developers will do it, or not.



Cratos Official

Cratos is a licensed and regulated in the EU crypto exchange service