The TON blockchain marked its independence day on May 7, after a group of developers hardforked the code initially meant to be used exclusively by Telegram.
As Telegram remains embroiled in a legal saga with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), an independent group of validators and developers elected to bypass the regulatory furor by launching the open-source Free TON.
TON’s Declaration of Decentralization
Taking advantage of a loophole that may be the first of its kind, Free TON is a direct hardfork of the blockchain originally built by TON Labs for use in Telegram’s digital currency payment system.
“We, the undersigned Free TON Community, Validators and Developers, hereby announce the launch of Free TON Blockchain upon the principles and terms stated in this Declaration of Decentralization.”
Gone is the GRAM token initially meant for Telegram’s proprietary chain – now replaced by the TON Crystal, or simply TON for short. Exactly 5 billion TONS will be distributed among partners and users (85%), developers (10%), and validators (5%), according to FreeTon.org.
Free TON won’t be available for users or organizations based in the United States at launch; however, the group said they hope this is only a temporary roadblock.
“As we grow to achieve full decentralization, all such barriers will be removed organically. There will no longer be any centralized authority in a position to even attempt to answer questions about who can or cannot join.”
For long-suffering investors in the original TON, the Free TON launch leaves them relatively unaffected. They still have the option to accept refunds totaling 72% of their investment from Telegram. Or, they can opt to loan their funds to Telegram until 2021 with the promise of 110% returns by April of that year.
The Free TON declaration quotes Satoshi Nakamoto’s foundational whitepaper and suggests the world finds itself mired in a crisis similar to that which spurred Bitcoin’s creation in 2008. One which Free TON thinks it can help resolve.
“The protocol represents an opportunity to create a massively scalable network benefiting hundreds of millions of people… it can promote free trade, equal opportunities, censorship resistance, and cooperation during an unprecedented threat from a pandemic and an economic crisis.”
The lasting effects of revolutions will forever be a mystery since their effects continue to play out as we speak. Will Free TON justify its own revolution as a righteous one?