Is Telegram's Cryptocurrency the Long-Awaited Ethereum Killer?
With just over a month left until the TON blockchain officially launches, Telegram’s debut cryptocurrency project is shaping up to be one of Ethereum’s biggest threats to date.
Numerous would-be assassins have lined up to close out the contract on the world’s largest blockchain platform in recent years – all with little success.
But with Ethereum compatibility already in advanced testing on TON, could Telegram’s 300 million-strong userbase prove a more enticing draw for blockchain developers?
Telegram Takes Aim at the Second-Biggest Dog in the Yard
The whitepaper for the Telegram Open Network (TON) wastes no time in declaring its intentions to muscle in on Ethereum’s turf.
From the introduction (emphasis added):
“We aim for [TON] to be able to host all reasonable applications currently proposed and conceived. One might think about TON as a huge distributed supercomputer, or rather a huge superserver.”
Similar language peppers the whitepapers of thousands of blockchain projects, particularly those aiming to host applications and run smart contracts. TON aims to do both, and its soon-to-be-released Solidity compiler means those apps and contracts will be interoperable with Ethereum.
Yet even compatibility with Ethereum has become a common feature of major blockchain platforms in recent years, so what can Telegram offer that others can’t?
The whitepaper claims TON will be able to handle “millions of transactions per second.” It aims to do this by using a “blockchain of blockchains.”
Up front is a masterchain, accompanied by a series of workchains which will number no more than 4,294,967,296. These workchains are then divided up into 1,152,921,504,606,847,000 shardchains – all of this in an attempt to provide the scalability needed to serve Telegram’s users.
Is TON the Ethereum Killer We’ve Been Waiting For?
Ethereum is already the most highly developed blockchain project in existence. The number of developers contributing to the Ethereum ecosystem exceeds that of Bitcoin four times over.
And it’s not just the number of developers that matters, but also why they’re there. Ethereum threatens to become a decentralized, authority-less version of the internet. Would its developers really be so eager to jump ship to a Telegram offering, regardless of its userbase size?
Ethereum has plans to scale using its own sharding technology in the coming year, at which point the battle-lines will have to be drawn all over again.