Telegram is busy deploying the world’s largest ICO presale, to be followed by the public round this spring, after large investors have had a chance to buy their pieces of the cake.
If successful, the desired $1.2 billion would allow Telegram to build a payment system on its app’s platform.
A leaked version of Telegram’s ICO whitepaper confirmed that the app will be launching their own blockchain network, called the Telegram Open Network (TON), and tokens, called the “Gram.”
Although Telegram is yet to officially announce the details of its ICO campaign, big-name investors like Benchmark (famously was all in for marijuana startups), Sequoia Capital, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers have announced their backing of Telegram’s ICO.
Telegram originating from Russia, it’s expected that much of the funds will come from non-US financiers. The investor and founder of Mail.ru Group Yuri Milner has already pledged to invest USD $20 million.
Some ICO experts say US venture investors see Telegram ICO as an investment in a promising consumer product, not so much as an investment in cryptocurrency. Investors bet on Telegram because of its established user base and mainstream reach – it would not fail like newcomer-startups often do however brilliant their underlying technology is.
Such interest from well-known Silicon Valley investors, which previously backed some of the US’s biggest tech behemoths including Google and Amazon, may be a sign that promising start-ups are stepping away from traditional capital as some of the sector’s biggest financiers fear.
Telegram plans TON will be up and running by mid-2019.
According to TechCrunch, the popular messaging app wants to raise $500 million during the pre-ICO. And during the main round slated for March —from $3 to 5 million. The Financial Times stated Telegram’s end goal is $1.2 billion.
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