What’s Going On?
Messaging application Telegram told the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) that it has raised initial $850 million of first round funding.
Why Does It Matter?
Telegram is attempting to create an eco-system that takes it beyond a communications channel.
Telegram does not sell data or advertising and is not owned by a tech giant. It needs to fund its service and to develop new ones. The new currency – the GRAM – is the starting point for this. Its prospectus for venture capitalists said: “In October 2017, Telegram reached 170 million monthly users, delivering 70 billion messages every day. At least 500,000 new users join Telegram daily. At this rate, the service is expected to hit 200 million monthly users in Q1 2018. These users can provide the required critical mass to push crypto-currencies towards widespread adoption.” The filing to the SEC stated that the money raised was for “the development of the TON Blockchain, the development and maintenance of Telegram Messenger and the other purposes.” According to TechCrunch, these include: Blockchain based distributed file storage; a proxy service for decentralized VPN services and TOR-like browsing; services for decentralized apps, smart contracts and decentralized web browsing; micropayments and peer-to-peer transactions.
What Is The Risk?
According to Quartz, first round investors are trading Telegram tokens even before the private sale is over, “and before a single line of code has been written for the promised Telegram Open Network (TON) that the ICO is funding”.