Telegram ICO buyers should get their hands on the messaging service’s much-anticipated tokens within the next two months, according to a report in the New York Times. The Times spoke to investors in the project who revealed that they are expecting their tokens on or before the October 31 deadline set by Telegram, when wallets for the GRAM token will also be available to the platform’s 200-300 million global users. Telegram famously raised $1.7 billion during its ICO in 2018 which has put enormous pressure on the team to deliver, and it seems as if they might just do that.
Telegram’s Terrorism Problem
The Telegram update comes at a time when Facebook’s Libra token has taken an enormous amount of flak for their private blockchain and cryptocurrency plans, allowing Telegram to almost slip through the net in discussions about the ramifications of private, anonymous, encrypted payment channels. Not anymore though. A report last month by The Middle Eastern Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has resurfaced highlighting that Telegram is “a favorite of terrorists and jihadis, including ISIS, and (is) already being used for fundraising by terrorist groups.” This is of course nothing new, with claims of terrorism financing via cryptocurrency being overblown on a regular basis, but MEMRI cites Telegram as a specific threat, stating that adding a secure and encrypted method of payment to the platform presents a “looming catastrophe for counterterrorism efforts.” Terrorist organizations already use Telegram to incite fundraising, it says, and this threat will “grow exponentially when it releases its own TON blockchain and Gram cryptocurrency”.
Unlike Facebook, which is at least trying to work with regulators to push their idea through, Telegram has made no such endeavors, keeping their entire process largely secret. Given that the company has no physical location it is almost impossible to clamp down on the company themselves, meaning that the only option is going to be to regulate use of the token itself, although this will only impact legal users of the cryptocurrency. Telegram is well known for its superior privacy and encryption, which is why it is also favored by dissidents in places like Iran and Russia, who have taken steps to shut it down to prevent protests against the government. The fact that those attempts have largely failed should send a message to regulators who try and do the same with the imminent GRAM tokens.