Telegram’s initial coin offering is sought-after but controversial

Feb 01, 2018

IN A few years, millions of people will use a messaging app to make instant payments to friends across the globe or in a digital marketplace. But instead of state-backed money, they will use a cryptocurrency, the Gram, denoted by a gemstone emoji. They will be able to pay to store data—and perhaps to view content—securely and away from governments’ prying eyes. All of this will take place on a single platform, TON, or “The Open Network”, built by Telegram.

This is the vision that Telegram’s founders, the brothers Pavel and Nikolai Durov, are flogging to investors ahead of their initial coin offering (ICO). A “presale” round to institutional investors is under way, with a wider sale of Grams to retail investors expected in a few weeks. Reports suggest the offering could raise as much as $1.2bn, making it by far the largest ICO.

Compared with other firms selling tokens on the back of vague promises, Telegram has lots going for it. Its encrypted messenger app, particularly popular with the global crypto crowd, is...Continue reading

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