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The Open Network: FreeTON, TON Crystal, & Wrapped TON

TON’s bridge to Ethereum enables its native token, TON Crystal (TON), to be traded and used across the DeFi ecosystem in the form of wrapped TON (wTON).

By Cryptopedia Staff

Updated January 31, 20224 min read

The Open Network- FreeTON, TON Crystal, and Wrapped TON (wTON)@2x


TON, which stands for “The Open Network,” is a community-driven blockchain project that enables rapid transactions and supports a wide variety of decentralized applications (dApps). The project’s native token, TON Crystal (TON), is used by network participants to pay transaction fees, secure the network, and suggest/vote on governance proposals. In April 2021, FreeTON launched a TON-Ethereum bridge that allows crypto assets to be traded freely across the two networks instantaneously and with near-zero fees. As a result, FreeTON users can now convert their TON tokens into wTON and unlock new forms of value across Ethereum’s growing dApp and decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem.

The Open Network: Intro to the TON Crypto Ecosystem

TON — which stands for “The Open Network” — is a community-driven blockchain project designed to enable fast transactions and support a wide variety of decentralized applications (dApps). The project was originally established by the company that created the popular encrypted messaging application Telegram. However, after facing scrutiny from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Telegram eventually abandoned the project in May 2020.

Despite Telegram’s relinquishment of the project, the TON blockchain initiative was soon brought back to life through the efforts of its passionate community of developers and blockchain startups that took it upon themselves to resurrect the project as a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) with the goal of achieving the project’s original vision.

There are now multiple concurrent community-run networks that claim ownership over the TON token ticker. The most advanced project to date, FreeTon, has matured into a fully decentralized network capable of supporting a wide range of dApps and complex smart contract deployments. Additionally, the project has successfully created a bridge to the Ethereum network, which enables its native token, TON Crystal (TON), to be traded and used across the entire Ethereum-based decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem in the form of wrapped TON (wTON). Wrapped cryptocurrencies are tokens that are 1:1 representations of other crypto assets. They enable crypto assets to be used on blockchains to which they are not native.

How FreeTON Supports the TON Crypto Protocol

FreeTON is a community-centric project driven by a venture-backed company called TON Labs, which collaborated with Telegram on its original TON blockchain testnet. FreeTON uses a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) protocol to achieve on-chain consensus, and is designed with an eye toward handling millions of transactions per second (TPS) if necessary. This speed is supported by a scaling technique called sharding, which partitions data storage and processing responsibilities to smaller validator groups. This diffusion of responsibility results in lower transaction latency and higher throughput than often found in many blockchains that tend to operate as a single state layer.

The FreeTON network supports application development in several traditional computer languages such as C and C++, as well as the Web3 language Solidity popularized by Ethereum developers. While this project is legally and operationally separate from Telegram, FreeTon has adhered to the original project’s goal of becoming a decentralized “super server” network that can be made available to everyone from ordinary individuals to public and private organizations.

FreeTON also recently launched TON Swap, a decentralized exchange (DEX), which claims to be faster and cheaper than Ethereum-based DEXs like Uniswap and is actively developing new yield farming and non-fungible token (NFT) offerings. Many of the project’s newer initiatives are coordinated through the FreeTON DeFi Alliance, a non-profit organization established to accelerate the project’s developmental goals.

TON Crystal and Wrapped Ton (wTON)

The native token of the FreeTON crypto network — TON Crystal (TON) — is used by participants to pay transaction fees. Users can also stake their TON tokens in order to secure the network and receive block rewards. Additionally, TON also serves as a governance token for the FreeTON network, meaning TON crypto holders can suggest and vote on governance proposals that impact the project’s development trajectory.

While the TON token was initially contained within FreeTON’s native ecosystem, in April 2021 the project launched a TON-Ethereum bridge, which allows crypto assets to be traded freely across the two networks instantaneously and with near-zero fees. FreeTON users can convert their TON tokens for use on the Ethereum network by locking their TON in a dedicated smart contract, which then mints an equivalent amount of wrapped TON (wTON) on the Ethereum network. Like most wrapped tokens, the minting and burning of wTON can only take place on the network that initiated the cross-network transaction, and wTON can be used freely on the Ethereum network like other ERC-20 tokens. As a result, wTON has two primary purposes:

Liquidity: The availability of wTON on the Ethereum network grants FreeTON access to the liquidity available on the world’s most widely used DEXs and DeFi lending platforms, including Uniswap.

Promoting growth: A second and larger purpose of wTON is to broaden FreeTON’s participation within the rapidly evolving DeFi ecosystem beyond simple token swaps and liquidity provision. FreeTON is still in the early stages of attracting developers and creating its own dApp offerings, and by embracing wTON and a multi-chain future, the FreeTON community hopes to cement a stronger presence among more established blockchain projects.

FreeTON vs. NewTON

While FreeTON is currently the most popular blockchain to have sprung up from Telegram’s original endeavor, not everyone within the community has rallied behind a single banner. Most notably, another community of early TON supporters spun off to create NewTON, which has many of the same goals as FreeTON, but is not as far along in its development. However, the developers behind NewTON were able to acquire ownership of the original TON blockchain’s GitHub and ton.org domain, which has since been populated with information on the NewTON project. As a result, NewTON has gained some traction despite FreeTON’s head start, and the competition over who represents the true embodiment of the original TON blockchain continues to this day.

Despite NewTON’s ownership of the original project’s web domain and GitHub profile, FreeTON has secured rights for the “TON” and “The Open Network” brands in 41 countries, and FreeTON’s token is much more widely traded and used across the broader crypto ecosystem. Further, both FreeTON and NewTON use the “TON” token ticker for their respective native governance tokens, and from a technical standpoint the two projects closely resemble one another, since they are based on the same underlying technology.

Both NewTON and FreeTON have impressive technical credentials, and both networks are capable of supporting instant payments, low-cost transactions, and a wide range of smart contract and decentralized data storage solutions. However, both projects are also still in the early stages of attracting users and building out feature-rich ecosystems.

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