May 13, 2020 – Telegram CEO Pavel Durov announces it is discontinuing the Telegram Open Network (TON) and the GRAM token after a regulatory battle with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC).
In a message on the popular messaging app, Mr. Durov said they have been working on TON and Gram tokens for 2 and a half years. They aim for TON to become an open, free, and decentralized exchange “of values and ideas”.
In 2018, Telegram launched a private sale for the TON network. It raised around $1.7 billion, prompting the company to cancel a public Initial Exchange Offering (ICO).
At that time, Telegram had more than 200 million users worldwide. Telegram is the go-to messaging platform for crypto and blockchain companies.
The US SEC, however, concluded that Telegram’s Gram Tokens are securities and on October 11, 2019, it issued an emergency restraining order to prevent the company from distributing the tokens. In November 2019, Telegram asked the court to dismiss the US SEC’s case against them. This was never granted.
On January 6, 2020, Telegram announced it will not integrate the TON wallet to its messenger app. On February 2020, the court hearing for the Telegram case began, with the US SEC claiming that the secondary sale of GRAM tokens violates securities laws.
On March 24, 2020, the court ordered Telegram to not issue GRAM tokens in April 2020 (TON”s expected launch month). The next day, Telegram appealed the ruling.
Telegram then missed the deadline for launching TON and offered refunds or a 110% return on investment if the investors wait for a year for the network to go live.
On May 8, 2020, Telegram agreed to hand over important ICO-related documents, including bank records and financial statements to the US SEC.
On May 13, 2020, CEO Pavel Durov announced that Telegram’s active involvement with TON is “over”. He advised everyone to not trust anyone using their names or the Telegram brand to promote their projects. He further said that if there are networks based on the technology they built for TON may appear, they will not have affiliation with them and will not offer support.
Mr. Durov criticized the seemingly long arm of the US government. The US Court declared that Grams cannot be distributed in the United States and globally.
“Why? Because, it said, a US citizen might find some way of accessing the TON platform after it launched. So, to prevent this, Grams shouldn’t be allowed to be distributed anywhere in the world – even if every other country on the planet seemed to be perfectly fine with TON.” – Pavel Durov, CEO of Telegram
This is a developing story.
This article is published on BitPinas: Telegram Abandons Gram Token Project and Open Network (TON)