Toncoin mining has successfully ended.

Toncoin mining has successfully ended.

The Open Network

In July 2020, all of the available Toncoin tokens (98.55% of the total supply) became available for mining.

The tokens were placed in special Giver smart contracts, allowing anyone to participate in the mining — up until today.

Users mined around 200,000 TON daily.

Today, two years later, the last Toncoin was mined, signaling the successful closure of TON’s initial distribution. 

The phenomenon

Mining on the proof-of-stake TON blockchain was a unique phenomenon to behold. Blockchains of older generations, such as Bitcoin, use a proof-of-work consensus algorithm. For these kinds of networks, mining is an integral and vital component. Thanks to miners, the network stays online, new blocks are created, and new coins are released, which are collected by the miners themselves as a reward for their services.

Fresh new coins can only be obtained via mining. When considering anyone can become a miner, this creates a more honest and even distribution of tokens among the network’s participants.

Next-generation blockchains operate by using a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm. For these networks, mining is unneeded, effectively making blockchains substantially quicker and more affordable to transact.

On PoS blockchains, however, their teams of developers issue the tokens initially. Usually, they oversee the distribution and sale of their tokens to investors, funds, and users.

This is a centralized distribution strategy that contradicts the spirit and tenets of decentralized technologies.

The TON blockchain was the first-ever to combine the two consensus algorithms. The blockchain runs on proof-of-stake technology, making it fast and cheap, but the initial token distribution was enabled by mining, which was decentralized and had the same conditions for all who participated.

This approach, which we’ve dubbed initial proof-of-work (IPoW), provides immediate advantages — it will undoubtedly be used for future crypto projects.

On TON, many solutions and functionalities have been created, and one of them is IPoW.

Accidental invention

Mining on TON commenced spontaneously and randomly.

In 2020, after its court case, the Telegram team agreed on a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and was forced to cease its work on The Open Network.

In order to finally stop their involvement in the project and, at the same time, allow enthusiasts to continue studying the technology, the Telegram team put all the available coins of the network into smart contracts, which anyone could mine on equal terms. 

The first guide to TON mining. Source: web.archive.org

TON mining's birthday is considered to be July 6, 2020; that’s the exact time when the miner code was published in the repository, and a guide on how to mine was posted on the project’s website. Shortly thereafter, the tokens were sent to the smart contracts.

At that time, the blockchain was still in its testnet, and the tokens had no value and could only be used for testing purposes.

The most surprising thing to happen was that a year after mining began, an entire Toncoin mining industry flourished.

The boom

A chart displaying the growth of the network’s hash rate.

The community of enthusiasts continued working on TON. The more active the development became, the quicker interest in Toncoin mining grew.

People who had learned that the project was still alive wanted to earn tokens.

In spring 2021, to their surprise, developers discovered that when taking into account the expenses on mining equipment and electricity, miners spent just $0.10 to mine 1 TON.

Demand for Toncoin sky-rocketed; new mining equipment was developed. In spring 2021, the hash rate was 50 gigahashes per second, but by the end of the year, it had jumped to as high as 500 terahashes per second (TH/s) — a 10,000,000% increase. When mining finally ended in 2022, its hash rate was at an astounding 2,000 TH/s.

YouTube search query for “Toncoin Mining.”

Today, you can find thousands of articles and videos on the different ways to mine TON, discussions about how much more profitable it was than Ether mining, and tales of fried video cards. 

The technology

The user interface of one of the mining pools.

Developing new software for mining is a complicated and labor-intensive endeavor. On top of that, the lifespan of TON mining only lasted two years. Nevertheless, people constantly spent time and energy perfecting Toncoin mining instruments, knowing they’d eventually break even. 

Beginning with CPU mining, mining tools went through a full evolution: 

  • GPU (video card) mining for the CUDA and OpenCL architecture.
  • GPU mining on Windows, which gave regular PC users the opportunity to mine Toncoin.
  • Miners for HiveOS, a special operating system for miners.
  • Mining pools, about a dozen pools were launched from various teams. The TonWhales pools had about 200,000 participants (with 50,000 at point mining at the same time) who combined their computational power to mine.
  • FPGA mining.
  • Dual mining is yet another unique TON creation. Mining crypto requires different amounts of computational power; for example, Ether mining requires a lot of fast memory, while TON needs more GPU processing. Some specialists learned how to launch Ether and TON mining at the same time, using one set of hardware, to apply 100% of its power capacity.

Distribution

The final result was all tokens were distributed among tens of thousands of miners. The TON project didn't hold an ICO, IEO, or any other type of token sale. Its growth was organic much like Bitcoin’s.

Naturally, just like in any other project, those who started mining early on had little to no competition. What you’ll notice, however, is that these early miners happen to be the most passionate about the projects and technology they follow.

A case in point is all the donations from TON miners that led to the creation of the TON Foundation and the TON Reserve, both of which will be relied upon to develop the network.

Just like in any open environment, TON has its “whales,” miners who were able to mine a large sum of Toncoin. The network’s biggest whale owns ~2.2% of the total supply, which is an acceptable fraction and poses no threats to the health of the blockchain.

What’s next?

With TON mining out the door, validation and TON staking enter the scene. It has all the hallmarks to become a gigantic industry.

TON is a proof-of-stake blockchain, which means special nodes are in place to ensure the network runs smoothly — operated by validators.

As the network hums along, new Toncoin is created as a reward to validators for their work. Every year, about 0.6% of the total supply is created. Anyone can become a validator — you just need a powerful server and a rather large amount of Toncoin to stake.

In Q1 this year, the TON ecosystem introduced nominators, a tool that allows stakers to lend tokens to validators for staking while sharing the income. A short time ago, nominators got a significant update.

Becoming either a validator or a nominator is the only way to earn new Toncoin now that mining has ended.

You can find more information at https://tonvalidators.org.

After the initial Toncoin distribution, a new phase begins: increasing the number of validators and tokens that participate in the validation process to strengthen the security and stability of the network.

💎