ICO or NO: Episode 28 Telegram

4 min read

Jeremy from Blockchain WTF is here to bring you another addition of ICO or NO. This episode covers a project that already has some notoriety, Telegram.

Telegram is a popular messaging app that is turning to the blockchain! The TON network will provide secure decentralized messaging. They are conducting an ICO for their GRAM token which will be used to power the network!

Watch Jeremy break down everything you need to know about Telegram and the TON  project!

What is Telegram & what problem are they trying to solve?

Telegram is a messaging app that has caught fire as of late, as have several other apps like it. GroupMe, Slack, Discord: these apps are all great for keeping in touch via group chats.

Telegram is a non-profit, cloud-based instant messaging service. Telegram client apps are available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows NT, MacOS and Linux. Users can send messages and exchange photos, videos, stickers, audio and files of any type. In February 2016, Telegram stated that it had 100 million monthly active users, sending 15 billion messages per day!

They already have a working non-blockchain-based platform, so you might be asking why are we covering them for ICO or NO?

Well the answer is TON, Telegram’s new blockchain-based messaging network. Why move this service onto the blockchain? Well Telegram’s security model has received notable criticism by cryptography experts. They have argued that it is undermined by its use of a custom-designed encryption protocol that has not been proven reliable and secure, by storing all messages on their servers by default and by not enabling end-to-end encryption for messages by default. Pavel Durov has argued that this is because it helps to avoid third-party unsecured backups and to allow users to access messages and files from any device.

If you know what blockchains can offer, you may realize it offers solutions to the problems I just described. It is decentralized, no third parties, and guarantees end-to-end peer-to-peer encryption. The blockchain is being explored as the new standard for security protocols, as its very hard to hijack a blockchain, compared to how easy it is to hack one centralized server. It happens all of the time.

Telegram is turning to the blockchain to ensure privacy in communications. Why would anybody use a messaging service that isn’t secure? It defeats the purpose of private messages. Telegram is looking to ease a major criticism by implementing blockchain technology.

What are the market conditions facing the ICO?

We mentioned many messaging services that rely on centralized cloud-based technology, but there is a well known competitor that has already conducted an ICO. KIK messenger conducted an ICO selling their KIN token in September of last year.

They raised 50 million dollars in their ICO, but a lot more money in their presale. Since then, things have not gone great for KIK. One of the major concerns of investors was that the ICO was only selling a small percentage of tokens, the rest went to investors or KIK. That coupled with uncertainty about token utility has put a lot of downward pressure on the price of KIN.

The TON token and network looks to capitalize on this difference. They are releasing 44% of total tokens to the public. They hope that this action will create a truly decentralized messaging marketplace where the consumer has more control than the current centralizing model.

Why does this need a blockchain?

In short, when youre working with different fiat currencies it becomes an issue. There are tax implications, remittance fees, accounting standards. So there is definitely an argument to be made that if taking in a lot of different fiat currenciees, it may just be easier to create a token and deal with the tax implications wherever they are doing business, in this case Russia.

Who is behind Telegram’s TON project?

Telegram was founded by the Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov. Its client side is open source, but the server side is not.

The team behind the ICO has 15 members, and they definitely have the advantage of already being established in the mobile messaging space. They created a platform, found issues with it, and are now looking to the blockchain to solve these issues.

What are the details of the token sale?

Ticker: GRAM

Token type: Own wallet

ICO Token Price: 1 GRAM = 0.1000 USD

Total Tokens: 5,000,000,000

Available for Token Sale: 44%