The Open Network (TON) has released on-chain encrypted messaging capabilities, according to a July 3 announcement from network developer TON Foundation. The new feature allows sending private messages between TON users.

TON is a blockchain network forked from code created by the Telegram instant messaging application team. Telegram abandoned the project ahead of the mainnet launch in July 2020. However, it open-sourced TON’s code before leaving, allowing others to continue to build on the work it had done.

The current network is called “TON” and is built by the TON Foundation. The foundation claims that the network offers greater scalability and transaction throughput than other options in the Web3 ecosystem, while also remaining decentralized.

TON has always allowed users to send messages in transactions. But in the past, these messages were completely public. The new feature allows users to encrypt these messages end-to-end, making them readable only by their intended recipients.

TON core developer Anatoly Makosov claims the feature was created to enable the “personalization” of transactions:

“When sending Toncoins, Jettons, or NFTs on TON, you can always personalize the interaction by adding text to the recipient, such as ‘Have a coffee’ or ‘Happy birthday.’ Now, this popular feature(…) Can be used with full encryption.”

It could also be useful, Makosov added, in the event of an “apocalypse” that causes traditional messaging servers to fail. In this case, TON can be used as a “reliable” and “protected” private communication method.

Encrypted messages are currently available using a variety of retail wallet apps, including MyTonWallet, OpenMask, and TON Wallet. The feature will also be added to mobile wallet Tonkeeper “in an upcoming update,” the announcement said.

In May, the TON Foundation launched a $25 million accelerator program to encourage application developers to build on the network. In November, a team of independent developers created a Telegram trading bot to bring users to TON.