According to local Russian news outlet Vedomosti.ru, Telegram’s Open Network is now live in private beta, with several programmers and beta testers having access to the highly-touted cryptocurrency project. The outlet cites two companies that have been given access to the beta network as sources and provides no real detail on what the testing looks like.
Telegram Open Network (TON) has reported progress over the past several months but has yet to deliver a bonafide product since its record-setting ICO raised $1.7 billion in 2018. Telegram will leverage its massive user base to provide a decentralized blockchain platform not unlike Ethereum, NEO, or Tron, allowing users to have decentralized applications powered by the Gram token.
If it maintained its ICO market capitalization or anything close to it, Gram would start as one of the more valuable cryptocurrencies in existence. If it delivered results and sustained interest from the trading community, it could easily grace the top 10 or top 5 cryptocurrencies, which is why so many people have a deep interest in the mysterious project.
CoinTelegraph reported in March that Telegram Open Network must launch by the end of October for token purchase agreements to remain valid. This gives them a mere six months to reach completion, but reports of a testnet are encouraging.
Another outlet, Profile.ru, says :
“At the same time, representatives of the companies noted that it is still premature to talk about any results since the blockchain code and smart contracts are still being tested.”
Telegram raised some alarms earlier in the year when it reportedly sought to liquidate one of its business registrations in Britain. Profile says this is likely in response to rule changes in the British Virgin Islands.
Telegram is currently banned in Russia, a response to its refusal to co-operate with an FSB request for assistance decrypting conversations between users.
The popular, privacy-centric messaging app is thriving everywhere else, though, and has long played host to thousands of cryptocurrency user groups.
In February, CCN wrote that the Telegram blockchain project was reportedly 90% complete. At the time, they claimed the open testnet would be pushed back to March. March came and went, no testnet.
The testnet is still not “open” in the sense that anyone can try it out, but if Russian sources are to be believed, then at least a private beta has opened. It’s interesting that Telegram opted to give Russian developers access, despite the April 2018 ban on Telegram.
Gram, the token for the Telegram Open Network, will likely see heavy trading once it finally goes live. If past progress is any indicator, that could be several months off