The Open Network (TON) blockchain has been making waves in the cryptocurrency world, even amidst a recent market downturn. This surge in interest is particularly notable because TON is closely linked to Telegram, the popular messaging app known for its focus on privacy and security.

Telegram’s Blockchain Ambitions

Telegram, a fierce competitor to WhatsApp, has harbored ambitions to integrate blockchain technology for some time. In 2018, they launched a project called the Telegram Open Network (TON) with an initial coin offering (ICO). However, the project ran afoul of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) due to regulatory concerns.

Rise of the TON Blockchain

Despite the setback, a separate entity, the TON Foundation, emerged to develop a “fork” of the original TON. This new TON blockchain has seen significant growth in 2024. The value of assets locked on TON has skyrocketed by 1400%, and its token has become a top ten cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

This success is partly attributed to TON’s potential integration with Telegram’s massive user base of 900 million. This integration could transform Telegram into a powerful “crypto super app” offering a variety of services beyond messaging, potentially including social interactions, gaming, and financial tools.

Investment and Regulatory Hurdles

Major investment firms like Pantera Capital see TON’s potential and have invested heavily in the project. Pantera views Telegram as uniquely positioned to leverage Web3 technology due to its lack of regulatory hurdles compared to other major platforms.

However, some experts remain skeptical. While the TON Foundation claims to be independent, the close ties to Telegram raise concerns about true operational autonomy. Additionally, TON faces limitations in the US and other jurisdictions due to ongoing regulatory scrutiny.

Payments and the Future of TON

Looking ahead, payments are expected to play a central role in TON’s ecosystem. Recent partnerships with major stablecoin issuers like Tether point towards a future where TON facilitates fast and secure cross-border transactions.

The popularity of play-to-earn games on TON has also contributed to its growth. However, industry experts believe that payments and remittance services will ultimately be the key drivers of adoption.

Crypto Super App Potential

Investment firms like DACM believe that consumer-facing platforms built on blockchain technology represent the next frontier in crypto growth. TON, with its ambitious target of capturing a third of Telegram’s user base by 2028, could be a prime example of this trend.

While challenges remain, the rise of TON has reignited the possibility of Telegram evolving into a one-stop shop for social interaction, entertainment, and financial services, potentially mirroring the success of Chinese super apps like WeChat.

By Alex Wheeler

Alex is a lead writer at AltcoinsAnalysis, bringing the audience all leading developments in the blockchain industry and the latest trends in the cryptocurrency market.