Ever since the year began, headlines have showed that the multi-blockchain P2P platform Telegram was launching an ICO. After raising $850 million in the first round and another $850 million in the second ICO round, crypto users were looking forward to its public sale. However, the Wall Street Journal has reported that Telegram “brought in so much money from a small group of private investors that it is calling off a planned sale of cryptocurrency to the wider investing public.” Instead, the company is planning to work on creating a digital payments platform called “The Telegram Open Network”.
The network, which will be built using ‘blockchain’ ledger technology, ‘can become a Visa/Mastercard alternative for a new decentralized economy,’ the company noted in a 23-page description of its plans.
In January 2018, it was reported that Telegram had set an ICO target of $2 billion – the original target was $1.2 billion. The company did come close to reaching the new target; according to the Wall Street Journal, a total of $1.7 billion has been raised up to now.
Telegram reported in a February Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it raised $850 million from 81 investors in a private deal. In March, the company said it raised another $850 million from 94 investors in a second private deal. The offerings were open only to accredited investors, which meant participants needed to exceed income requirements or have net worth of at least $1 million.
Iran recently banned Telegram in the country, a decision which came after many citizens complained about the messaging app. With almost 40 million Telegram users in Iran, it won’t be a surprise if they continue using the app through the VPN software. Last month, Russia also blocked Telegram, which was followed by a number of protests in the country. Founder Pavel Durov said. “Thousands of young and progressive people are now protesting in defense of internet freedom in Moscow — this is unprecedented.”