The popular messaging platform, Telegram raises $850 million, moving one step further towards its billion-dollar ICO.
News of Telegram’s entry into the blockchain space first surfaced last month when a whitepaper consisting detailed information about the project appeared online.
The whitepaper called TON (Telegram Open Network) detailed Telegram’s blockchain project that is aimed at raising $1.2 billion through the sale of its TON tokens.
A document submitted to the U.S Securities and Exchange this week stated that the amount was raised “for the development of the TON Blockchain, the development and maintenance of Telegram Messenger and the other purposes.” The document was signed by Telegram’s CEO Pavel Durov.
This $850 million initial sum is the pre-sale stage of the ICO which was targeted at venture capitalist firms and major investing figures who were offered considerable discounts to buy Telegram’s Gram token.
Originally, the pre-sale was targeted to raise $600 million but high demands pushed the target to $850 million.
Initially, Telegram aimed to raise an additional $600 million to develop the TON project through a public sale that starts next month but it is unclear if Telegram might adjust the figure.
A Bloomberg report said that the public component of the ICO might expand to $1.15 billion, raising the total figure to $2 billion if it is successful.
The Telegram ICO is so far the biggest ICO to date, the pre-sale itself, by a huge margin, has topped all other ICOs. And therefore is being surrounded by a lot of hype and scammers who have pulled down millions by faking the ICO.
A key reason behind the massive demand surrounding the Gram token is Telegram’s position in the crypto community. The instant messaging app is widely used for ICOs while, its group feature being the most popular among crypto analysts.
Telegram had always been self-funded by the CEO Pavel Durov himself and his brother Nikolai. This sale is the first ever outside investment in the company.
Telegram, with the ICO, aims to develop a series of other services including:
- A distributed file storage that is similar to services like Filecoin and Dropcoin.
- A proxy service to create blockchain-based, decentralized VPN services and a secure browsing environment (akin to TOR).
- Services for smart contracts, decentralized apps and web browsing experiences.
- A payment service for micropayments and peer-to-peer transactions.
An early MVP version of TON is planned to be released in Q2 2018 with Telegram wallet service noted for the final quarter of the year.
The Gram tokens are expected to be listed until January 2019 or the end of 2019, however, if they fail to get listed, participants in the private sale will get a refund.