Say what you like about the Telegram ICO, but you can’t fault it for a lack of ambition.
The secretive initial coin offering (ICO) — sponsored by the encrypted messaging app and its founder, Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov — is reportedly aiming to raise more than $2 billion to bootstrap the development of its “third-generation blockchain,” known as the Telegram Open Network (TON). And that figure, it’s important to note, only refers to the presale.
Telegram has been infamously opaque about the token sale — and the details of the TON — and even prospective investors have complained that the company has refused to give specifics about the fundraising round.
Nevertheless, the company does not seem to be having trouble finding investors will to plunk down millions of dollars to contribute to what will almost assuredly be a record-setting ICO. A document filed with the SEC this week indicated that the first round of the Telegram ICO — which began in late January — raised $850 million from 81 investors.
This document, incidentally, was filed the same day that Kaspersky Lab revealed that Russian hackers had exploited a security flaw in the Telegram desktop application to deceive users into downloading cryptocurrency mining malware.
Following this successful funding round — which dwarfed the firm’s earlier-reported target of $500 million — Quartz reports that Durov believes the Telegram ICO can raise another $1.15 billion from presale contributors.
“The combination of the scale and quality of the demand has led us to rethink our strategy for both this transaction and the next round,” the publication reports John Hyman, Telegram’s chief investment adviser, as stating in offering documents distributed this week.
However, in keeping with the shifting goalposts that have accompanied the Telegram ICO since it was first announced, freelance journalist Adrianne Jeffries reports that a source has told her that Telegram is “planning to ditch the public sale entirely” and add two more presale rounds targeting $850 million and $300 million, respectively.
“Durov likes the sense of power over investors and the fact that he forces them to play by his rules,” she cites the source as saying.
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