We publish the best Essays of the Free TON Positioning Essay Contest. This time with a technological bias.
About Internet protocols using OSI model
From its inception in 1992 until today, the Internet has come a long way. It is a path from a network of several thousand sites built on simple HTML to a global system that has become an integral part of society. In the seven-layer OSI (The Open Systems Interconnection model) network representation model — physical layer and data link layer protocols with the development of technologies, communications and equipment, has undergone incredible metamorphoses: from the simplest network equipment and modems for 300 baud, to an input optical cable of any capacity for apartments, and in the near future even to quantum repeaters! At the same time, the logical structure of the entire global network – network layer protocols — is a legacy of the 20th century. In addition to the fact that the entire array of possible IPv4 addresses is no longer enough, the protocols themselves were developed for ideal conditions, and therefore proved to be defenseless against various network attacks. The lack of encryption at the basic level provokes attacks such as MITM, ARP poisoning, DDOS, etc., which appeared after the standardization of protocols. The security “crutches” that appeared in response to the threats did not solve the problem — the IP protocol and the entire IP routing system were outdated.
Omitting the consideration of the transport layer and moving on to the protocols of the session, presentation and especially the application layer, it should be noted that they are excessive and overcomplicated, since they are partly aimed at solving the problems of lower-layer protocols. Such tasks as traffic encryption and reliable addressing, which must be solved by the protocols of the network and transport layers, are left to the mercy of the upper-layer protocols, which, instead of their main tasks, additionally try to fix architectural vulnerabilities. This seriously affects the overall security, which in fact has become a hostage to the quality of the developed network interaction of specific programs.
About services and applications of the Internet
What is the Internet for the user? Services and Applications! A small number of services (storage and transmission of data, communication, media and games, financial and information) corresponds to a huge number of applications for their implementation. In fact, these are applications for the sake of applications. At the same time, the successful Chinese WeChat system successfully demonstrated how you can do without this diversity.
A huge number of applications creates a corresponding number of problems resulting from the quality of application development. The scourge of quality is the “release race”. This problem was partially solved by the global corporate distribution centers for applications “Google play”, “App Store” and others, which took responsibility for the quality of programs. But this did not solve the problem globally. Paraphrasing Murphy’s law, we can say: if errors in software development are fundamentally possible, they will definitely be there.
About the advantages and disadvantages of centralized management
History shows that the concentration of power in one hand allows solving tactical tasks in a short time. But in the long run, this form of power tends to be abused and starts to hinder progress.
The situation is similar with the Internet. Large corporations, which control the threads of the global network, are primarily concerned with their own well-being. Occasionally, the interests of companies may coincide with the interests of most Internet users, but not always. In addition to such hackneyed topics as the use of personal and financial user data by corporations at their discretion, they are also able to influence every Internet user, manipulating information and determining social development. In addition to the hackneyed topics of how corporations use people’s personal and financial data, they can also influence every Internet user by manipulating information and shaping social development. Think about it, with such a system, the future is not in our hands, but in the hands of a “board of directors” pursuing its own goals.
About Web 3.0 as a Utopia
In 2007, Jason Calacanis posted a vision for the Internet on his blog. Calacanis noted that on the modern Internet, due to the huge number of monotonous resources, many of them have depreciated. He suggested that a new, not so much technological, as a socio-cultural platform should emerge, allowing professionals to create interesting, useful and high-quality content. Web 3.0 was presented as a continuation of the Web 2.0 concept. As a solution, he suggested introducing a metalanguage describing the content of sites in order to organize automatic exchange between servers. However, no implementation happened. The reason is not so much the cost of creating a semantic version of sites, but rather a human factor: the lack of a guarantee of an adequate description by publishers of their own resources, a wide field for manipulating descriptive mechanisms and the impossibility of adopting a unified description format in a competitive environment due to corporate advertising policy.
About technological solutions and Free TON
From the above, we can conclude that the implementation of the concept of Web 3.0 requires a new technology platform that would remove personal and corporate interests from software development, network management and decision-making.
The main properties of such a platform should be:
- basic security of network interaction;
- the ability to implement Internet services.
The best candidates for such platforms are solutions based on the blockchain concept. Yes, we can criticize the implementation of the blockchain in Bitcoin that appeared in 2009 (for example, the formation of blocks by the method of Proof-of-work from the point of view of the ecology of the planet), nevertheless, it became the starting point for the development of the whole families of more technologically advanced solutions.
Today, one of the most conceptually advanced solutions has become the TON (Telegram Open Network) P2P network, developed by the Durov brothers for the subsequent transfer of the Telegram messenger to it. Despite the fact that as a result of the injunction the platform was deprived of the opportunity to join the 400 million messenger community, nevertheless, in May 2020, thanks to the efforts of the enthusiastic communities and TON developers — TON Labs, the platform was launched under the name Free TON with the native Crystal token.
What is Free TON and why is it perfect for the technological platform of the Internet of the future?
While Bitcoin is only a payment system, Free TON is a full-fledged scalable P2P overlay network built on the advanced blockchain architecture 2.0. The Free TON blockchain architecture consists of a masterchain and up to 2^32 workchains, each of them with its own parameters and token. Workchain number 0 operate a token named Crystal. Workchains can be divided into shardchains, up to 2^64 in total. Each shardchain independently processes transactions, parallelizing calculations and providing millions of transactions per second. Shardchains are split or merged, maintaining the desired speed. For the formation of blocks, the mechanism Proof-of-stake (PoS) is used. Forking off the blockchain is not possible. In addition, a decentralized data storage service called TON Storage is provided within the blockchain.
The mechanism of smart-contracts has been fully implemented, brought to its logical conclusion in Free TON — in fact, everything in the system, including user accounts, is smart-contracts. Smart-contracts are executed in a virtual machine — TON VM, which is part of the system. At the same time, depending on the spent computing resources (gas), the cost of executing a smart contract in Crystal also grows. Free TON provides a complete TCP/IP protocol-free mechanism for interacting with basic encryption both inside its own nodes and outside gateways, protected from malicious influences. Within the network, there is a platform for launching applications, as well as a semblance of a domain name system. In fact, Free TON is a distributed operating system.
With several alternative technology solutions as competitors, such as Solana (high-speed blockchain platform), Polkadot (a platform that provides a communication mechanism between other blockchain platforms), IPFS (distributed file system), Free TON includes the functions of each of them. Free TON mechanisms simplify the implementation of all the necessary Internet services (means of communication, encryption, financial resources, file storage, video and audio services, user authentication) and ensure their communication with the services of the “current” Internet. At the same time, at the basic level, Free TON implements a distributed control system based on user consensus and devoid of the problems inherent in the modern Internet described above.
Globally, Free TON is most suited to the role of the technological foundation of Web 3.0. As a result, the development prospects of Free TON depend on the creation of its infrastructure and final tools — smart contracts, decentralized bots (DeBots), client applications with high user abilities. And it depends on us — members of the Free TON community.