t seems that cryptocurrency and its introduction of blockchain technology has changed the way how information is shared and emphasized the importance of decentralization and privacy. Many companies have taken on blockchain technology and are trying to create self-regulating applications to help spread its adoption. One of those companies being Telegram.
Telegram is messaging app like Whatsapp, and was founded by Russian brothers, Nikolai and Pavel Durov. The design philosophy behind Telegram was to provide a messaging platform that keeps its users’ data and conversations safe from all third parties.
What Telegram hopes to achieve with Blockchain technology is a network that allows for faster transactions of cryptocurrency, and other useful services. The project would be called the “Telegram Open Network” (TON).
Currently, the biggest issues with cryptocurrency are speed and scalability. These issues are the main bottlenecks preventing mainstream adoption. Speed and scalability refer to the amount of transactions per second a payment system can complete.
To put it into context, Visa does around 1,700 transactions per second while Bitcoin can only do around 5 transactions per second. With TON, Telegram attempts to fix this problem by issuing their own faster Cryptocurrency called Gram.
To help fund TON and Gram, Telegram launched an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) which opened the sale of Gram tokens to certain investors. The ICO received $1.7 billion dollars in funding making the TON project the highest funded blockchain project to date.
Any smartphone that has the Telegram app installed will have instant access to the cryptocurrency’s wallet. There are currently 180 million active users on Telegram, and with the introduction of Gram, this will bring a lot of new users within the cryptocurrency space.
Since they have so many users, Telegram is looking to leverage their platform and push cryptocurrency for mass adoption, and they’re doing so with Telegram Bot Payments.
Currently, the Telegram Bot Payment allows users to buy and sell with others through the messaging app. However, the payments are handled through third party payment providers. That means certain products and services must comply with the payment providers’ terms and services.
The integration of TON will remove the reliance on these third-party services and allow users to buy and sell directly to each with Gram. Telegram Bot Payments will then act as storefronts channels for users to interact with each other on a peer to peer basis with no intermediary, giving full transaction freedom to its users.
Being Russian natives, Nikolai and Pavel regard privacy and free speech as the biggest rights people should have, and those philosophies are truly represented in Telegram.
All messages sent through the app are encrypted from sender to receiver preventing any attempts at stealing information from their server impossible. With blockchain technology, Telegram is attempting to bring the free speech commitment to TON.
The feature TON is looking to implement is a proxy service which will hide the identity and IP addresses of all active devices on the network, making the network immune to censorship.
The TON project is very ambitious, and with its ICO raising $1.7 billion, it seems like a lot of investors have faith in Telegram’s vision. The Gram cryptocurrency was slated to release on October 11, 2019. However, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) held a restraint against Telegram, ceasing the release of the token until further notice.
The SEC stated that: “Our emergency action today is intended to prevent Telegram from flooding the U.S. markets with digital tokens that we allege were unlawfully sold,”
“We allege that the defendants have failed to provide investors with information regarding Grams and Telegram’s business operations, financial condition, risk factors, and management that the securities laws require.”
Telegram is currently holding off their launch of GRAM and TON until all regulatory issues are resolved.
Their main rebuttal against the SEC is:
“Significantly, Telegram has already treated the Private Placement as a securities offering pursuant to valid exemptions to registration under the Securities Act of 1933. The grams themselves, as distinct from the purchase contracts, will merely be a currency or commodity (like gold, silver or sugar) — not a ‘security’ — once the TON Blockchain launches.“
Once the case against the SEC is resolved, it will be exciting to see what TON offers for the blockchain and cryptocurrency community. Nikolai, Pavel and the team at Telegram have very ambitious goals for what they want to achieve with TON.
Gram, TON service payments and TON proxy really represent what Telegram stands for as a company, and a full summary of what they aim to achieve can be read through their TON Whitepaper (an official document stating their goals and vision).