Just a month after Telegram developers introduced a private beta version of its very own blockchain network, the company has released a stable version that is open for development. The Telegram Open Network (TON) can now be accessed by means of a test client that developers can use to start creating smart contracts and other potential applications. The initial functionality of the TON client is limited to connecting to established nodes and launching queries for the purpose of setting up smart contracts.

In addition to the TON Lite Client, Telegram developers have also released a configuration file that connects to a sandbox server developers can use for testing smart contracts that would eventually run on the Telegram mobile messaging app. There's also a virtual machine plus a programming language called Fift. During the private test phase of the TON beta client, developers were impressed by the network's speedy settlement of transactions.

About a year ago, Telegram executives rolled out an initial coin offering that did not actually result in cryptocurrency tokens; it was an internal ICO event whereby investors understood that they were purchasing options on the future development of the TON blockchain as well as potential tokens. In just two funding rounds, the company was able to collect $1.7 billion, thereby exceeding the forecast of $1.2 billion.

It should be noted that hosting cryptocurrency tokens is very much in the purview of TON development. When the GRAM token finally launches, it will certainly attract lots of attention from prospective investors. At this time, it is not known whether GRAM will be a pure cryptocurrency in the decentralized sense; in 2019, companies such as Facebook and even JPMorgan have announced their intention to manage their own digital currencies in a centralized fashion and without the possibility of mining. By virtue of being a leader in encrypted and privacy-minded communications, chances are that GRAM will be a decentralized cryptocurrency that may allow blockchain mining.

As the situation stands in 2019, Telegram users can install the Button Wallet mobile app to deposit cryptocurrency tokens within their messaging accounts to make purchases and transfer funds.