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How TON Foundation Plans to Onboard 500 Million Users On-Chain

4 mins
Updated by Daria Krasnova
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In Brief

  • TON is gaining significant traction due to strategic partnerships with Telegram and Tether, alongside the trending Tap-to-Earn narrative.
  • Alena Shmalko, TON Ecosystem Lead, discussed these impacts, highlighting an impressive 2,000% increase in TVL in recent months.
  • The ultimate goal of TON Foundation is to onboard 500 million users by 2028, focusing on improving user experience and scaling infrastructure.
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TON is a hot topic right now as the ecosystem gains traction due to strategic partnerships with Telegram and Tether and the trending Tap-to-Earn narrative. 

BeInCrypto sat down with TON Ecosystem Lead Alena Shmalko to discuss the profound impact of these partnerships, the challenges of expanding a non-EVM compatible blockchain, and the strategic initiatives that catapulted TON into a major player in the space.

TON’s Key Projects and Partnerships

Alena begins by highlighting the explosive growth within TON’s ecosystem. “The ecosystem right now is experiencing a real boom,” she says, noting an impressive 2,000% increase in Total Value Locked (TVL) in recent months. This surge is largely attributed to the launch of The Open League, an initiative aimed at both TON users and builders, which has fostered massive growth and engagement.

One of the cornerstone partnerships bolstering this growth is with Telegram. Officially termed a strategic partnership, this collaboration integrates TON’s Web3 infrastructure into Telegram’s ecosystem. 

“We’re aligned on the growth and development of Web3 elements within the Telegram ecosystem,” Alena explains. “As a result, we’ve seen the introduction of a wallet created by an independent team, which is now being rolled out as a native feature inside the messenger across various regions. Additionally, other independent products are being developed within Telegram, such as the Telegram App Center, which aggregates all decentralized applications launched on TON in the form of mini apps as well as Web2 Telegram mini apps.”

Read more: 6 Best Toncoin (TON) Wallets in 2024

The launch of Tether’s USDT on TON, announced at TOKEN2049, is also set to play a large role in driving mass adoption. It facilitated numerous joint campaigns with centralized exchanges such as OKX, Bybit, and KuCoin and offered users various opportunities to earn rewards. Introducing the world’s largest stablecoin to TON’s ecosystem represented a major step toward establishing a more consistent and reliable financial environment, providing easier transactions and fostering greater trust in the platform.

Alena notes ongoing partnerships with prominent Web3 players such as Animoca Brands, Fireblocks, and HashKey Group. Such allies validate TON’s technological advancements, boost its credibility, and appeal to a broader audience.

Developer Support and Community Engagement

TON Foundation and TON Society focus on supporting developers and boosting community engagement. They regularly organize hackathons, workshops, webinars, and online courses to equip developers with the knowledge and skills to build on the TON blockchain. These programs are globally accessible, ensuring anyone can contribute with the right resources and support.

One of the major initiatives in TON’s ecosystem is The Open League, a long-term incentive program designed to reward builders and users. The initiative started in March with 18 projects participating in the beta season and has now grown to embrace around 40 TON applications, 57 tokens, and 22 NFT collections. The Foundation has already distributed more than $45 million in rewards, allocated $150 million in total, and plans to scale the program further.

Alena also highlights the potential of the gaming sector within the ecosystem, noting that Web3 gaming offers new opportunities for value exchange, true ownership, and financial benefits for gamers. Coupled with Telegram’s potential — its 900 million monthly active users — this positions TON as the blockchain of choice for mini game developers.

“Web3 gaming empowers gamers to do things that they can’t currently cannot do, offering a better form of value exchange, true ownership and attractive financial opportunities,” she explains. “People can now access fun, simple and viral games in their favourite messenger, without the need to set up a separate Web3 wallet and leave the interface”.

Read more: Tap-to-Earn: What to Know About the Crypto GameFi Trend

TON is also exploring other product areas such as SocialFi, e-commerce, onboarding and education tools, and DeFi. These sectors have significant potential to attract large numbers of people. Future developments may include RWA tokenization, supply chain management, decentralized identity (DID), decentralized physical infrastructure networks (DePIN), and AI. Blockchain will ultimately spread across all those, but the low-hanging fruit here are products that will easily become appealing to retail users and offer them some clear, direct value.

The Road to 500 Million Users

Looking ahead, Alena outlines the primary objectives of TON’s ecosystem. The long-term mission of bringing 500 million users on-chain by 2028 is central to these goals. To achieve this, the Foundation will continue implementing The Open League. “This initiative has already borne a lot of fruit, but we want to scale it to more teams and users,” she explains.

Improving user experience (UX) and onboarding processes will be a significant focus. TON Foundation commits to supporting developers in creating valuable and user-friendly decentralized applications.

However, Alena recognizes the challenges ahead. One primary hurdle is that TON is a non-EVM blockchain, so developers must learn new programming languages like Tact and Fun-C. To mitigate this, TON provides comprehensive documentation, technical support, and educational resources.

“We are constantly improving our documentation and offering support to help developers transition smoothly into our ecosystem,” Alena notes. “Given that they need to learn new languages, we provide very comprehensive documentation in multiple languages. Now we’re translating it to Mandarin because we have a very strong focus on Asia. Then Arabic as well. We have documentation for CIS regions, of course, and obviously for English speakers”.

Read more: How to Achieve EVM Compatibility in Non-EVM Blockchains

Moreover, scaling the infrastructure to support a growing user base presents technical challenges. Ensuring that the network remains secure, efficient, and capable of handling increased traffic and transactions is a continuous effort. Alena points out that the team is dedicated to overcoming these obstacles by building a collaborative environment where developers can share insights and innovations.

As the conversation concludes, Alena reiterates her belief in the future of a fully tokenized world. “The future will be tokenized 100%,” she states, drawing parallels to the digital revolution many doubted at the turn of the century. Strategic partnerships, initiatives like The Open League, and a strong focus on user experience position TON to lead this transformation.

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Daria Krasnova
Daria Krasnova is an accomplished editor with over eight years of experience in both traditional finance and crypto industries. She covers a variety of topics, including decentralized finance (DeFi), decentralized physical infrastructure networks (DePIN), and real-world assets (RWA). Before joining BeInCrypto, she served as a writer and editor for prominent traditional finance companies, including the Moscow Stock Exchange, ETF provider FinEx, and Raiffeisen Bank. Her work focused on...