According to Telegram, the social media platform has raised 850 million dollars of the 1 billion dollars it is planning to raise for its Initial Coin Offering (ICO).
It is by far the largest amount raised for any ICO. Tezos was the previous record holder with a raise of 232 million dollars in 2017. Telegram intended to reach 600 million dollars, but it was pushed to 850 million dollars because there was a lot of hype around this project.
Earlier this week, the SEC received a document signed by CEO Pavel Durov mentioning that the money was raised “for the development of the TON Blockchain, the development and maintenance of Telegram Messenger and the other purposes.” In january 2018, Telegram’S CEO said that they are planning to raise 1.2 billion dollars by selling their token “grams”.
Also, the money was raised to finance the development of a network for low-cost real-time payments. Afterwards, they want to create a decentralized platform for identity verification along with other features still unknown. Another 600 million dollars is planned on being raised during a public sale occurring in March to develop the TON blockchain.
However, many experts have questions regarding the ICO. Telegram has already had problems with security in the past and the present concerns are about the voting influence of the TON foundation to manage the reserve tokens in Telegram’s hands.
According to the TON whitepaper,
“Cryptocurrencies and other blockchain-based technologies have the potential
to make the world more secure and self-governed. However, to this day,
no consensus-backed currency has been able to appeal to the mass market
and reach mainstream adoption. This paper outlines a vision for a new cryptocurrency and an ecosystem capable of meeting the needs of hundreds of millions of consumers, including 200 million Telegram users. … There is no current standard cryptocurrency used for the regular exchange of value in the daily lives of ordinary people. The blockchain ecosystem needs a decentralized counterpart to everyday money — a truly mass-market.”
“Telegram is uniquely positioned to establish the first mass-market cryptocurrency. Telegram will use its expertise in encrypted distributed data storage to create TON, a fast and inherently scalable multi-blockchain architecture. TON can be regarded as a decentralized supercomputer and value transfer system. By combining minimum transaction time with maximum security, TON can become a VISA/Mastercard alternative for the new decentralized economy. The Telegram Team will rely on its 10-year experience in building user-friendly interfaces for tens of millions to create light wallets, exchanges, and identification services that will allow users to get on board with cryptocurrencies in an intuitive way. Integrated into Telegram applications, the TON wallet will become the world’s most adopted cryptocurrency wallet. Telegram will leverage its existing ecosystem of communities, developers, publishers, payment providers, and merchants to drive demand and value for TON cryptocurrency. A whole new economy saturated with goods and services sold for cryptocurrency will be born — similar to WeChat’s fiat-based marketplace, but not confined to a centralized service.”
Tech Crunch summarized the new services that will be offered by the messaging app,
- Distributed file storage akin to services like Dropcoin and ICO company Filecoin
- A proxy service for creating decentralized VPN services and TOR-like secure browsing environments based on the blockchain
- Services for decentralized apps, smart contracts and decentralized web browsing experiences
- Payments for micropayments and peer-to-peer transactions
Telegram’s ICO is the one that raised the most money up to date. The company still wants to raise more capital to work on bigger projects. In a decentralized economy, this project could replace credit cards as the main form of peer-to-peer transactions and they are planning to add many features to their messaging app.