Per a May 12 message from Telegram CEO Pavel Durov, the company is calling it quits on the Telegram Open Network (TON) and the linked Gram tokens following a lengthy battle with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. After announcing the TON network and Gram token back in 2017, Telegram is now officially terminating its involvement with the project, Durov said.
In the post, dubbed “What Was TON And Why It Is Over,” Telegram CEO said that they made the decision in response to a U.S. court prohibiting Telegram from distributing its Gram tokens anywhere in the world. Durov wrote:
“The US court declared that Grams couldn’t be distributed not only in the United States but globally. Why? Because, it said, a US citizen might find some way of accessing the TON platform after it launched So, to prevent this, Grams shouldn’t be allowed to be distributed anywhere in the world – even if every other country on the planet seemed to be perfectly fine with TON.”
In the post, Durov explicitly criticized the U.S. government’s involvement and efforts to prevent the launch of a project based on principles of decentralization pioneered by Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). Reiterating his recent negative remarks about the U.S., Durov wrote that the global community is still dependent on the U.S. when it comes to finance and technology.
“Unfortunately, we – the 96% of the world’s population living elsewhere — are dependent on decision-makers elected by the 4% living in the U.S.,” he added. Telegram CEO also emphasized that the court decision breaks sovereignty of jurisdictions around the world, saying:
“This court decision implies that other countries don’t have the sovereignty to decide what is good and what is bad for their own citizens. If the US suddenly decided to ban coffee and demanded coffee shops in Italy be closed because some American might come there – we doubt anyone would agree.”
By abandoning the TON project, Telegram seems to have lost its long-running legal battle to the U.S. SEC. The SEC brought an action against Telegram in October 2019, a few days before the firm was planning to launch the TON network. In the lawsuit, the SEC accused Telegram of violating the U.S. securities law by conducting its $1.7 billion initial coin offering in 2018. In March 2020, a U.S. court recognized that the SEC had a good chance of proving that Telegram’s GRAMs were unregistered securities. Telegram CEO Pavel Durov subsequently suggested a reimbursement plan on April 30, apparently accepting the court’s decision.
Telegram’s departure from the TON project may not be the end of the Telegram Open Network’s story. Durov’s sudden announcement comes after the Free TON, an independent community of validators, launched the TON blockchain independently from Telegram on May 7. Mitja Goroshevsky, a key member of the Free TON community and CTO at TON Labs, a third-party group of TON infrastructure developers, commented on Durov’s announcement:
“Well, it’s quite clear. Pavel was forced to do this statement. Yet I agree with every sentiment it has and particularly with the last statement regarding decentralization. This resonates exactly right with Free TON goals. We will continue to develop, build, and distribute TON around the world. We will get it into the hands of millions of people. Because that is the right goal!”
Regarding the Free TON launch, Durov clearly said that Telegram will not have any affiliation with any entities involved in further deployments of the TON technology. Concluding the post, Telegram CEO appeared to encourage the independent launch of the TON network, saying:
“I want to conclude this post by wishing luck to all those striving for decentralization, balance, and equality in the world. You are fighting the right battle. This battle may well be the most important battle of our generation. We hope that you succeed where we have failed.”
3 Big Blockchain Firms Working Together On A DeFi Product That Pays Passive Income
In a special announcement made at the Unitize conference on July 6, Cosmos, Polkadot, and Terra revealed a new DeFi savings product called Anchor that aims to offer dependable interest rates on stablecoins deposits. The companies involved in the creation of Anchor plan to launch it across their respective blockchains at the end of Q3 this year and scale across to other PoS blockchains in the future. Do Kwon, founder and CEO of Terra, explained in a prepared statement:
“While DeFi staples such as Maker and Compound have been revolutionary in creating fully decentralized crypto money markets, the volatility of their interest rates makes them unsuitable to be used as a household savings product. DeFi mass adoption needs the creation of a fully decentralized savings account that offers dependable APR.”
Anchor’s smart contracts receive stablecoin deposits and use a portion of them to acquire staking positions on compatible Proof of Stake blockchains. Users will receive their passive income from these staking rewards. The initial governance for this platform will come from the Interchain Asset Association (IAA), a newly formed organization that sees Zaki Manian of Cosmos, Jack Platts of the Web3 Foundation, and Do Kwon of Terraform Labs collectively steering the ship.
Telegram Is Set To Shut Down The TON Testnet By August 2020
Although Telegram has terminated its blockchain project, Telegram Open Network (TON), in May 2020, the TON test net has been apparently running for almost one year. In a July 6 update, the official TON development group on Telegram announced that it would be discontinuing its support of the test network for TON. Remaining TON validators will be turned off by August 1. In the post, the TON official recommended network participants save all their relevant data and stop their testing processes. Despite the testnet being set to shut down less than a month from now, network participants will still be able to continue their experimentation after the testnet is terminated. In order to do that, users can install their own testnet validators, described in greater detail in three different how-to documents containing guidelines for the Full Node, the Validator, and Test Grams.
Telegram launched the TON testnet for explorer and node software on Sept. 6, 2019. In anticipation of its scheduled Oct. 31 launch last year, the company released an alpha version of an iOS wallet to work with its native token, the Gram. But Telegram’s TON plans were never fully realized, as the United States Securities and Exchange Commission suddenly deemed Telegram’s $1.7 billion ICO illegal in mid-October. After a long-running legal battle with U.S. regulators, Telegram agreed to shut down its TON project, as well as return $1.2 billion to investors in line with a court-approved final settlement. As officially announced by Telegram CEO Pavel Durov, the firm had already reimbursed more than $1.2 billion by June 25.
Binance Supports An Ontology Upgrade
Binance, one of the world’s biggest crypto exchanges, has announced on July 5 that it will support the upcoming Ontology 2.0 network upgrade. Ontology 2.0 will include the integration of a number of community-led upgrades to its MainNet. Binance says that it will end support of Neo Enhancement Protocol 5-based, or NEP5, ONT tokens deposits. Any future deposits of NEP5 ONT will not be credited to users’ Binance account, it indicates. Deposits and withdrawals of ONT will be stopped starting July 6 at 9 a.m. UTC. Users will be notified when the Ontology upgraded network becomes stable and deposits and withdrawals are reopened, says Binance.
The Ontology network upgrade will not result in a new token creation and ONG staking rewards for ONT will not be affected. Ontology uses a dual token (ONT and ONG) model. ONT is the coin and can be used for staking in consensus, whereas ONG is the utility token used for on-chain services. MainNet ONT started to release ONG as soon as Ontology MainNet went live two years ago. According to Ontology, from 9 to 12th June 2020, it will give its community the opportunity to have a say in the development of its governance and staking economic model, especially for the Triones node results. However, The Ontology Foundation’s first three-year bonus to the top 49 nodes and the distribution method remains unchanged.