First London Hackathon a building ground for emerging developer talent on TON

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The Open Network (TON) represents a “blue ocean” where amazing projects can be built, according to Tal Kol, TON Ambassador and founder of Orbs, a layer 3 blockchain. In Kol’s opinion, TON is quite simply a network that was built for mass adoption. Speaking at the opening ceremony to a packed room of young developers and entrepreneurs present for Hack in London, a two-day hackathon in the UK capital, Kol explained what excites him about TON. Kol has devoted many hours to building on TON while Orbs is at the forefront of new development in the TON ecosystem.

The London hackathon took place at DLT HUB, a collaborative workspace for small teams and start ups in the blockchain space overlooking the waterside at Canada Water in London’s East End. The event gave participants a valuable opportunity to learn and build on TON.

Kol explianed how Ethereum has become a crowded space where only the most niche ideas are likely to succeed. While the second biggest blockchain’s 5,000 or so professional developers have seemingly made fields such as decentralized finance (DeFi) their own, TON, which also has its own burgeoning DeFi ecosystem, has the potential to provide a bedrock for consumer-facing Apps that could herald the next stage of Web3 development. Projects building on TON have the potential to leverage Telegram’s 700 million-plus user base and reach a consumer base that is far more voluminous than that of other blockchains. User-friendly apps in fields such as payments, non-custodial wallets and gaming that tap into the user base of social networks such as Telegram could well prove essential if mass adoption of Web3 is to be achieved.

To start the two-day event, Kol oversaw a series of tutorials with attendees introducing TON and explaining the basics of how to code on the network. Some attendees were novice coders and as many of the developers at the event came from a Web2 background, his tutelage on the basics of decentralized applications was keenly sought. Meanwhile, some teams came to the hackathon with a clear idea of what they wanted to build and began in earnest. One team made a start on developing a peer-to-peer gambling service while another set out to build a jobs board. One team came to event with an impressive idea that worked using VR glasses.

Project plans were already starting to take shape by lunch time as pizzas arrived to satisfy the hunger of the 50 or so coders gathered in the various spaces at DLT Hub. As is usually the case with a hackathon, the early stages of the event had been devoted to brainstorming ideas, research and deciding on the best approach to take.

During lunch time a news editor from The Block, arrived to speak with Kol and hear more about the TON blockchain. Kol explained to him how TON excels. Originally introduced by the Telegram team inheriting its freedom and openness ethos, TON has been run as an open-source community project since 2020. With a layer-1 architecture — designed to scale up to 2 to the power of 32 workchains, each of which can be subdivided into up to 2 to the power of 60 shardchains — TON can support millions of transactions per second near-instantly. Tal made a quick demo to The Block with @Wallet Bot, which enables Telegram users to make payments and purchase cryptocurrencies with a credit or debit card, to show how instantaneous payments can be made. Performing his role as the ‘roaming Jedi’, Kol also shared his expertise with all attendees, providing guidance on matters such as the writing of smart contracts for TON’s revolutionary async VM.

Sally Shen, the founder of RabbitGo, a start-up providing growth solutions via ‘learn to earn’ for web3 businesses, content creators and individuals, drew inspiration from the two-day event and plans to build further projects on TON. “We were impressed by the supportive supervisors at the TON hackathon who provided valuable advice to the developers and stayed with the teams for the entire two days,” says Shen. “We also appreciated the cozy venue at DLT, with separate rooms for different groups and good food. Additionally, we enjoyed connecting with people in the Web3 space and seeing short demos at the end of the day.”

Teams huddled over laptops and continued to build into the early hours of Sunday morning. By the second day the arrival of assorted afternoon snacks from a nearby supermarket provided the necessary sustenance for teams to carry on to the finishing line. When the two-day event concluded on Sunday evening it had proven to be valuable opportunity for all attendees to learn and build on TON. Participants can now enter Hack-a-TONx DoraHacks, a 2-month long virtual hackathon, and be in with a shot of winning a cool $250,000 in Toncoin (TON).