Telegram Open Network, or TON, the ambitious blockchain project announced last year by the Telegram messaging app, is expected to release the code needed to run a TON node on Sept. 1, according to two individuals familiar with the project.
One of these individuals is affiliated with TON Labs, a tech startup founded by Telegram’s token sale investors. An investor in the token sale also confirmed the date.
Telegram has maintained a high level of secrecy around TON, refusing to speak publicly on the project. TON Labs, which was founded to build developer tools for Telegram, has felt no such inhibition, becoming the only vocal tech company associated with the project. TON Labs has claimed to maintain regular communications with Telegram’s own developer team.
To date, there has been only one operational node – run by Telegram itself – on TON’s test network. With the upcoming code release, a broader range of users will be able to run their own nodes. Users can only run nodes on testnet, with a mainnet launch expected for Oct. 31, according to the purchase agreement for Telegram’s 2018 token sale.
Russian publication Vedomosty reported Wednesday that the release will contain code for the node itself as well as instructions for deploying a node.
Citing unnamed investors in the project, Vedomosty reported that interested developers will be able to use their nodes to test the protocol’s consensus and sharding mechanisms.
According to a leaked white paper, TON will use a Byzantine-fault-tolerant proof-of-stake consensus with “infinite sharding” and the capacity to support a staggering 292 shardchains (49 followed by 26 zeros).
Telegram raised at least $1.7 billion from investors based in Russia, the U.S. and several other nations in a 2018 token sale. If TON doesn’t launch by the end of October, Telegram will have to refund its investors, minus any expenses associated with its development.
Investors, Telegram users and the broader crypto community alike have remained interested in Telegram’s blockchain project. TON was previously expected to launch last December, before being significantly delayed. Many investors began selling the rights to their future tokens as a result, forming an unofficial secondary market for GRAM, the token associated with the network. However, this is technically a violation of Telegram’s investor agreement, which strictly prohibited secondary trades prior to launch.