The Open Network (TON) has released an on-chain encrypted messaging feature, according to a July 3 announcement from the network’s developer, TON Foundation. The new feature allows for private messages to be sent between TON users.
— TON (@ton_blockchain) July 3, 2023
TON is a blockchain network forked from code created by the Telegram instant messaging app team. Telegram abandoned the project in July 2020, before a mainnet was ever launched. However, it open-sourced TON’s code before leaving, allowing others to continue building upon the work it had done.
The current network, called “TON,” was built by the TON Foundation. The foundation claims that the network provides greater scalability and transaction throughput than other options in the Web3 ecosystem while also remaining decentralized.
TON has always allowed users to send messages in transactions. But in the past, these messages were completely public. The new feature allows users to encrypt these messages end to end, making them readable only by the intended recipient.
TON core developer Anatoly Makosov claimed the feature was created to allow for the “personalization” of transactions:
“When sending Toncoin, Jettons, or NFTs on TON you have always been able to include a text for the recipient such as ‘for coffee’ or ‘happy birthday’, thereby personalising the interaction. Now this popular feature […] is available with full encryption.”
Makosov added that it also would be useful if an “apocalypse” occurs that causes traditional messenger servers to fail. In this case, TON can serve as a “reliable” and “safeguarded” method to communicate privately.
Encrypted messages are currently available using several retail wallet apps, including MyTonWallet, OpenMask and TON Wallet. The feature will also be added to mobile wallet Tonkeeper “in upcoming updates,” the announcement stated.
In May, the TON Foundation launched a $25 million accelerator program to encourage app developers to build on the network. In November, an independent development team created a Telegram trading bot to onboard users to TON.