In 2017, Telegram, a messaging app with over 400 million active monthly users, announced a new project called Telegram Open Network, or TON. TON was to be a blockchain
platform providing payment via its own token, the Gram and hosting decentralized applications.
One year later the Telegram had raised a staggering €1,5 billion in funds to develop TON through two private sales. Not surprising this raised the attention of regulators, among them the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). A TON testnet was set to launch in January 2019, but this was postponed.
Private testing began in April 2019; however, a few months later in October, the project was hit with a lawsuit from the SEC. The SEC accused Telegram of violating securities law by having held a not approved security sale.
Beginning this year, a US court found the SEC to be right and prevented Telegram from distributing the Gram tokens among its investors. While Telegram first appealed the decision it has now dropped out of the fight, effectively putting an end to the TON project.
TON investors now have the choice to either be refunded 72% of their initial investment or loan the investment to Telegram for one year and get back 110% of the initial amount afterwards.
While Telegram has pretty much given up on the project, thanks to the code being open-sourced and available on Github, other developers have already forked the original version of TON and launched their own version called Free TON.