Messaging app Telegram’s long-awaited blockchain and related cryptocurrency could be ready by March, according to a Russian news outlet. The Bell reports that Russian-born Telegram founder Pavel Durov is due to meet with major investors next month where he will present a test version of the TON blockchain and the GRAM token and spell out the release schedule for the project. TON was initially slated for release at the start of 2019, but as it the case with most technology projects, particularly with something so innovative and challenging as blockchain, the release has been delayed by two to three months.
Durov Under Pressure
Telegram launched their ICO in 2018 at the height of the ICO craze. The eye-watering $1.7 billion target was judged by many to be both massively overambitious and needlessly high, but Durov raised all the funds with private investors meaning that the public sale was cancelled. Some ridiculed the excessive nature of the plan, with reports surfacing as far back as May 2018 that the Telegram ICO had already “become a mess” as early investors sold their tokens privately at around a 3x increase.
It was reported at the time that some investors didn’t really know what they were investing in, while more recently others have claimed, according to The Bell, that they have had no updates from Durov regarding the project. It is clear that Durov is going to have to produce something spectacular to impress these big money investors, particularly seeing as the amount he requested is more than 100 times the average amount raised by an ICO in 2018.
Looks like @Telegram has successfully duped accredited investors into massively overpaying for its tokens. $1.7 billion contributed so far! ?
Looking forward to buying $GRAM at a huge discount when tokens are released in the wild.
— Whale Club (@whaleclubcom) March 30, 2018
Russia’s Telegram Ban
Telegram itself is currently fighting a law imposed by the Russian government in July 2018, whereby telecoms operators are required to keep all customer voice and messaging traffic for half a year and their internet traffic for 30 days. Telegram has claimed that this requirement is technically impracticable as users possess their own encryption keys, while Durov himself has said that the demands violate the constitutional rights of Russian citizens to the privacy of correspondence. This has resulted in the Telegram app being blocked in Russia, with mixed results, although this hasn’t stopped Durov and his team forging ahead with TON and GRAM, and it certainly didn’t stop investors handing their cash over to Telegram while legal proceedings were ongoing. What they will get for their money, and whether they will be happy with it, only time will tell.