Here we go! The first big ICO news of the year took no time whatsoever. In blockbusting news, there are reports that Telegram is planning a multibillion dollar ICO on its own blockchain platform.
An ICO, if you’re hearing the word for the first time, is short for Initial Coin Offering.
Not dissimilar to an IPO.
And Telegram, for those unaware, is one of the most popular messaging services in the world, known for its solid encryption and rapidly growing user base across the planet. Combing this user base with blockchain, and you have all the makings of something big.
Could be big
Before we get to the big part, though, TechCrunch who broke the story citing multiple sources, claims that the company is aiming for anywhere in the range of $3 billion to $5 billion for the ICO — which could come as early as March.
According to insider sources, Telegram is building its own blockchain platform called the Telegram Open Network (TON), with its own native cryptocurrency that will be known as Gram.
So far so good.
As for the financial details, the company is looking to raise about $500 million in a pre-ICO sale to big investors, which it then hopes will inspire confidence for public investors that may then show willingness to put in smaller amounts.
The interesting thing here is that those who participate in the ICO will have to pay with fiat currency, and other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will not be accepted. This is something that may deter users from participating if the past is any indication.
As detailed in the whitepaper, which apparently, only TechCrunch has access to right now, 200 million Gram tokens will be reserved for Telegram employees, with a 4-year vesting period. This translates to around 4% of the total supply. In addition, the company will retain 52% of the total supply of Gram to maintain flexibility and shield its cryptocurrency from speculative trading.
This leaves 44% of supply available for sale to both private investors and the general public.
Now, while this might be seen as a forward step from Telegram, at least compared to other social and messaging platforms, the strategy is actually similar to WeChat, which has allowed the Chinese service to evolve from a simple chat app to a payment mechanism for users.
Albeit, WeChat only uses fiat currency.
Telegram, meanwhile, wants to facilitate low-fee micropayments for easy movements of money across borders. And not just that, the Telegram Open Network could eventually serve as the base for all the bots and services that other third parties offer on the platform.
The company plans to run both centralized and decentralized infrastructures for its blockchain platform, in order to best deal with scaling issues — with the idea being the ability to handle around one million transactions per second.
A number far superior to what Bitcoin and many other digital currencies manage right now.
This is something that has the potential to really take things to the next level, not just for Telegram, but also other cryptocurrencies as a whole, provided it picks up. It could well be the shakeup that makes other technology giants and large organizations take notice.
Again, provided it picks up.
Anyway, we won’t have to wait long to find out.
The company already has the Telegram Wallet in development that will allow its 180 million active users to hold both the Gram cryptocurrency, as well as fiat currency. It is slated for launch in the fourth quarter of the year, while the rest of the TON services will follow in the second quarter of 2019.