A few years ago, the messaging app Telegram announced that it was creating a blockchain called Telegram Open Network (TON). He would have his own play called Gram. You were going to be able to buy and sell things on Telegram using Gram. It would be as exciting as buying and selling things on Facebook with Libra, if that was a thing. It’s not. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has said it could compete with the dollar in trade and the Federal Reserve, which is not a fan of cryptocurrencies except for its own central bank digital dollar. , put the kibosh on Facebook’s digital currency wing, known as the Diem Association.
Things are falling apart.
This is not the case for Telegram, it seems. Telegram has what Facebook wanted.
After the SEC killed Gram, Toncoin took its place as a new option, an alternative to Gram, which was more like an investment in Telegram itself. Toncoin is different and not an investment in Telegram. The two are separate legal entities according to the Telegram press office – a fact disputed by many Gram investors. But Toncoin, like Gram before it, is the native cryptocurrency of the Telegram messaging app.
In January 2022, there were approximately 200,000 active wallets containing Toncoins. By the end of May, that number is approaching 600,000.
The TON Blockchain is one of the most profitable technology projects ever created by Russian-backed capital and brains. Pavel Durov is the star of the show, hailed as a saint for glaring at the Russian intelligence apparatus known by its acronym FSB before going into exile.
Durov came up with the idea – though perhaps not on his own – to make an initial coin offering in 2018 to create Telegram’s own digital commerce platform on the messaging app, one of the most important in the world after WhatsApp and WeChat.
Telegram has raised $1.7 billion from 171 investors, including Russian billionaires Roman Abramovich and Yuri Milner; Qiwi founder Sergei Solonin; Russian businessman Said Gutseriev; European dairy giant Wimm-Bill-Dann co-founder David Yakobashvili and others to develop the project – essentially a Telegram-run e-commerce ecosystem powered by Gram coins as the currency of choice.
Gram was blocked by the SECand Telegram had to return money to investors.
On June 26, 2020, the court approved a settlement agreement between the SEC and Telegram Group Inc. and its subsidiary, TON Issuer Inc. to settle allegations that Telegram’s unregistered digital token (Gram) violated US federal securities laws. The defendants agreed to return $1.2 billion to the investors and pay an $18.5 million fine.
Telegram offered to repay investors in the Telegram Open Network in 2018 by either receiving 72% of their investment immediately or lending it to Telegram for a year and then being paid in cash, Gram or another crypto, with a bonus additional 10%.
About 70% of that was returned. The rest was not. Institutional investors lost their capital, including Russian investors Zotobi Management Limited (Igor Chuprin) – loss of $280,000 – and Da Vinci Capital – a loss of $20 million, according to Forbes Russia reports.
For American investors, they had to take 72% refund and exit the Gram token project, while non-US investors had possibility of receiving 110% of the amount invested. This appears to be a Telegram decision, not an SEC. and
From where these investors are sitting, the Gram project has morphed into the TON project (now shortened to “The Open Network”), and they wonder why they couldn’t have just been paid from these products instead. to be forced to lock in a loss. . Toncoin is fully diluted market capitalization is around $5 billion, although this capital was raised by individual crypto investors, including retail investors.
According to some Telegram investors who wished to remain anonymous due to an ongoing legal fight with the company, the core architecture of the TON network was created with money raised from Gram investors. Investors currently suing Telegram say they eventually funded Toncoin but received no return on that investment. This is the crux of the story.
“Toncoin developers are at risk of receiving complaints from former investors of the Telegram blockchain platform,” says Slava Semenchuk, a well-known Russian venture capitalist and investor in cryptocurrency projects. told Forbes Russia. “Investors haven’t gotten all their money back. Nothing has changed in TON, not even the code,” he said.
But the TON network is a separate legal entity, Telegram’s press office said. TON is unrelated, as Durov said on his social media. Even the word “Telegram” has been deleted. Some investors find this suspicious.
Toncoin has always been intended for the general public, while Gram was only intended for a certain circle of accredited investors.
Still, Toncoin is an investment as much as any cryptocurrency.
In Russia, the well-known rapper Morgenshtern announced in January that he bought Toncoin. Like Elon Musk announcing he was buying Dogecoin, Toncoin’s price rose 20% after the rapper touted his crypto trade. Around the same time, Morgenstern opened a news channel in Telegram, which was actively advertised in the messaging app and amassed an audience of 1.3 million within weeks, an ode to the popularity of Telegram and Toncoin as an investment for retail crypto bros.
“At some point, the Telegram community announced that the TON network was no longer a test network, but was working, and renamed the Grams test to Toncoin”, Forbes Russia reported Last year.
Those who have not been cured of the canceled ICO are suing to be paid by the TON network, a network in which they claim to have invested in the first place.
“These investors did not have the opportunity to exchange grams for toncoins,” said a representative of the group of investors who wished to remain anonymous. “Such transactions of Gram for Toncoin, and not just at the level of project testing, would attract the attention of the SEC and end the whole Gram scam if Gram is now Toncoin.”
Out of five billion Toncoins, 4.9 billion, or 99% of the volume of all coins, are concentrated in the hands of an unknown group of whales. Most of the coins are held in around 100 unknown whale wallets, a common investor euphemism to describe major shareholders.
Telegram announced the official launch of crypto payments on the messaging app in May, and the only cryptocurrency to transact on the app is Toncoin, although they are different coins. It seems clear that the TON network and Telegram have management and investor ties, if not legal ties.
Plans to make Toncoin the official coin of Telegram were announced shortly after the establishment of the TON Foundation former colleague of Durov Andrew Rogozova buddy from the days of VKontakte – Russia’s largest social media platform.
“Facebook was unable to launch its Libra currency, but Pavel and Telegram were successful,” said one of the people involved in the lawsuit who did not want to be named for the recording. “It turned out that it was enough to rename Gram to Toncoin and make some statements that Telegram had nothing to do with it. But the facts say otherwise – no other cryptocurrency had the opportunity to integrate with Telegram like Toncoin.
Telegram neither confirmed nor denied that some investors were incomplete. They said the company “fully fulfilled its contractual obligations under the purchase agreements with all of its investors in 2020. Additionally, many investors appreciated our goodwill offer to receive 110% of their initial investment in 2021. All of the world-renowned TON investors we spoke with understood the nature of the roadblock we faced and appreciated how we handled it.
Did Telegram breach its settlement agreement with the SEC? This settlement requires Telegram to return funds to investors, imposed a significant penalty, and requires Telegram to notify future digital offerings. Toncoin does the trick. This is what aggrieved investors are saying pursuing one of the world’s most popular tech founders, and arguably the go-to alternative to WhatsApp. This comes at a time when crypto is taking a beating and testing the patience of investors.
Telegram faces the legal risks of lawsuits by the SEC with even more serious legal consequences for Telegram and its investors. It also puts retail Toncoin holders at risk, as further claims from the SEC will trigger a wave of selling that will push the price of the token deeper into the avalanche that all cryptos find themselves in right now.