The Mysterious Forces Propelling the Rise of the TON Ecosystem

Another TOKEN2049 summit in Dubai has concluded amidst a market pullback. As industry participants, aside from the blessing of “Wealth flows from water”, it seems that no rapidly viral content was generated during the entire summit. We still remember that during the Singapore summit in September 2023, Arthur Hayes speech briefly dominated headlines and vocabulary across industry media.

But if we want to find someone at the Dubai summit with influence like Arthur Hayes, that person would undoubtedly be Telegram CEO and TON founder Pavel Durov. This is because TON was likely the project with the most buzz and keywords spread during the Dubai conference. Firstly, benefiting from TON token continuously breaking new highs in the past few months, with gains as high as about 475%, ecosystem tokens also surged dramatically. For example, UP token rose over 400%, while meme tokens like Fish increased dozens of times, right when market attention was at its peak.

At the summit, Durov and top “ringer” Tether, along with a group of TON ecosystem stars, successively revealed multiple pieces of news, giving us more anticipation for the future.

So after this summit, what news should we pay attention to? Which ecosystem projects deserve more of our focus? In this article, we will attempt to summarize in detail.

TON’s Key Messages at TOKEN2049

On the main stage at TOKEN2049, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov gave a speech announcing three main pieces of news:

  • He reiterated Telegram’s ecosystem philosophy and foreshadowed more app promotion work. Durov said that we love blockchain technology because we care about freedom. We hope there will be fewer crypto scam projects so people can freely build their own tools, apps and businesses. On Telegram, third-party developers will be allowed more freedom than on other communication apps. Later this year, Telegram will start promoting more apps and chat rooms.
  • Maximum revenue support was provided for creators. Durov said that in the coming weeks, an introduction for creators will be released. Creators will receive 70% of the revenue. In a few weeks, in-app purchases of physical and digital goods will be allowed. At the same time, Telegram channel owners will be able to withdraw 50% of ad revenue for the first time.
  • Lastly, regarding memes, Durov said that we are organizing a push for Telegram stickers. Stickers and emojis may also turn into memecoins. (Previously, to promote memes, TON launched the meme development community Memelandia.)

In addition to the news announced in Durov’s speech, there are three recent plan execution progresses, all published by TON:

  • First is about Tether’s USDT issuance on TON. TON will provide 11 million TON token incentives to early USDT adopters on the chain. 5 million of them are for rewarding USDT holders, another 5 million are for providing liquidity support to and DeDust, and the last 1.2 million are for fee-free withdrawals from exchanges.
  • The second news is still about incentives for USDT usage. TON Wallet, in cooperation with the TON Foundation, will allocate $30 million worth of TON tokens to USDT holders. Participants can also earn a 50% annualized rate through their balance. Currently, TON Wallet users can transfer USDT to contacts for free or withdraw to external TON wallets until the end of June.
  • The last news relates to the ecosystem grant program. TON launched the Open League DeFi grant program, aimed at providing support for Web3 builders in DeFi and dApps. Currently, TON will provide four levels of support with a maximum amount of $520,000 based on the project’s current TVL on other chains, team experience, and other indicators.

What Methods are Ecosystem Drivers Using?

TON’s ecosystem has grown, but the mere 600+ projects in the ecosystem are not enough to support the huge market cap. TON’s ecosystem is currently in a state where the market is huge but ecosystem projects are few.

Telegram’s 1 billion global users, built-in wallet functionality, and features like TON Space and bots all signify a vast market space. At this time, TON’s ecosystem is like a blue ocean waiting for other applications to enter.

Referencing the development experience of other ecosystems, we can discover that currently, teams and projects with strength basically all adopt a model of “one main entity radiating to support multiple projects” to promote application development in the ecosystem. This allows for diversified business to generate revenue while also mutually maintaining project market value.

For example, the well-known ConsenSys is the creator and promoter of multiple products including MetaMask, Infura, Linea, Besu, Teku, etc. ConsenSys’ founder is also closely involved in the Ethereum ecosystem. But from an overall product attribute perspective, it still leans more towards the infrastructure layer. Teams with similar construction ideas include Offchain Labs.

We can also see some similar team business development at the application layer. For example, AAVE, which we all know is a DeFi protocol with huge volume on Ethereum and other L2s and L1s. In the course of multiple cycle developments, we can see AAVE also advancing the construction of other applications, such as the relatively early-stage SocialFi concept application project Lens, the stablecoin project GHO released in 2023, and the recently rising Ehtena, whose supporters include the founders of AAVE, Curve, and Synthetix.

We can see even more abundant examples in other ecosystems. For instance, Solana ecosystem’s Jupiter did the meme project WEN, Avalanche promoted the DEX Pangolin, and so on. Under the market’s education, project parties know deeply that rather than waiting for external application partners, it’s far better to self-organize or self-incubate projects.

In an ecosystem like TON that needs to rapidly rise, there are also many teams adopting a model of one team advancing multi-business ecosystem construction. This is currently the fastest method. One team can use similar technologies. For application expansion, the open source field can provide sufficient case guidance. In the TON ecosystem, we have also found several teams with similar development models.

Those Main Drivers are:

TON Foundation / Telegram

The team and developers behind TON are undoubtedly the biggest and most powerful drivers and builders in the ecosystem. In traditional public chain teams, a completely decentralized design is adopted, so most just build the chain and passively wait for ecosystem growth, or only focus on token price and the secondary market in the early stage.


The TON Foundation and its related organizations have been playing an active promoting role in TON’s development and applications. For example, the officially TON-recommended applications include TON DNS, Tribute, Fragment, TON Diamonds, and Getgems. After searching for information on platforms like GitHub, we can discover some traces left by TON officials behind the development of these applications.

TON DNS goes without saying; in Getgems’ GitHub development information, we can find connections to TON’s gorpc development; on the other hand, we can also find parts jointly related to Telegram and TON. Fragment is a typical use case - it is a trading platform that supports Telegram usernames and TON wallet logins, where collectibles can be traded and ads can be paid for using TON tokens.

Undoubtedly, as the biggest stakeholders, TON and Telegram are taking the initiative in ecosystem development and forming a huge influence.

TOP (The Open Platform)

Another team playing a huge role is TOP, whose founder Andrew is a member of the TON Foundation. At the same time, their platform has built multiple ecosystem projects and tools, such as the Wallet in Telegram, TonKeeper, and Notcoin, which is rumored to have millions of users in recent months.


We found that the projects they established through investment and incubation include multiple types like NFT, GameFi, development tools, etc. Simply put, TOP is involved in almost all the core components within the TON ecosystem. From a business perspective this is certainly understandable. Just as MetaMask and ConsenSys behind it have made huge contributions to the Ethereum ecosystem, TOP’s huge tentacles also make it so there are voices in the community defining it as a “monopoly”.

Microcosm Labs

In addition to the above two Russian-led forces, we also see the development of the Asian ecosystem. Microcosm Labs is a team established in June 2023 that focuses on TON ecosystem construction. With the assistance of the TON Foundation and TONCoin Fund, they launched the first launchpad TonUP in August 2023.

Subsequently, they held multiple IDOs for DeFi, GameFi, etc. in the TON ecosystem. Currently, TonUP has over 300,000 community users, and the UP token has a trading market cap of about $100 million. TonUP has also participated in multiple in-ecosystem application grant incentive activities.

In addition to the launchpad, Microcosm Labs is also trying to do more construction, including launching the modular DEX PixelSwap, which is the first DEX on TON that supports weighted pools. This also makes LBP issuance on TON a reality. Moreover, because the DEX adopts a modular design approach, it will achieve friendly usage for developers through SDKs and APIs, promoting developers to do more asset issuance business and trading business development and design.

According to information released by Microcosm Labs, PixelSwap will conduct mainnet testing in May and will invite world-class auditing companies to participate in the audit. In addition to the DEX, Microcosm Labs has also invested in and incubated several products focused on the TON ecosystem, including GameFi, DeFi, and other types. The specific portfolio that can be checked includes: TonUP, PixelSwap, TonTogether, DetectiveTON, Cwallet, CCpayment, etc. Among them, in addition to the previously introduced launchpad and DEX, TonTogether is a no-loss lottery project built on the TON network, while DetectiveTON is a vertical media focused on the TON ecosystem.

Recently, Microcosm Labs also launched the “Move to TON” grant, providing funds of up to $50,000 to most efficiently promote more projects to enter the TON platform. For migrated projects, Microcosm Labs can help complete the guidance, migration, and token listing stages, as well as provide assistance in subsequent marketing, business development, exchange listing or token tagging.

At present, Microcosm Labs may be the standard model for the development of more builders or application parties in the future. Among non-official projects, their depth of immersion in the ecosystem and product types are currently leading.

What Else Does TON Need?

TON is developing, but what we see is that TON is different from traditional Web3 or crypto. Because of Telegram, it has extremely high value, but it may still be constrained by Telegram in development speed, ecosystem development, product design, or touch on the shortcomings of other Web3 developers. Therefore, for the TON ecosystem, perhaps more thoroughly transforming Telegram into a platform suitable for Web3 is the only way to achieve the ultimate goal.

Before and after the Dubai conference, from advertising to tokens, then to creators, and now with sticker memecoins, payments, trading, etc., the only answer converges into one sentence - TON needs time, it needs to go through cycles of construction and value precipitation. When the TON token price recently hit a new high, TON had already entered the top ten cryptocurrencies globally. So if we expand our expectations, what kind of ranking will TON get? Please leave it to time and future practitioners to verify.

This article was originally published in Foresight News, and DetectiveTON has been authorized to translate and publish the English version.

This article was updated on April 25, 2024