Messaging Platform Telegram Prepares For Ambitious $1.2b ICO Launch

Messaging platform Telegram is creating waves in the cryptocurrency world this week, as details of its plans for a record-breaking $1.2-billion initial coin offering continue to emerge.

The ICO, which would be the biggest single example of the nascent funding mechanism to date, will see the platform’s 200 million-plus users invited to engage in transactions in tokens, in exchange for different services on the platform.

Known as “grams,” the tokens will be required by users to engage with premium functions on the Telegram platform, which could include anonymous browsing and file sharing, according to reports this week.

The tokens will form an integral part of the firm’s TON, or Telegram Open Network, a new infrastructure on their platform designed to entirely decentralize digital communications.

As part of the ICO, tokens will be issued under the SAFTs structure, or Simple Agreements for Future Tokens — a model that has so far been used successfully by companies raising capital through initial coin offerings.

According to Telegram’s plans, the presale phase could raise as much as $600 million, a figure some analysts feel is within the realms of possibility. A further $600 million to $700 million of tokens would then be offered to the public at large when the ICO eventually goes live.

The plans would see Telegram become the most mainstream company so far to launch an ICO, and could mark a significant move for the model into mainstream corporate thinking.

With a little over $2 billion raised in ICOs in total so far, success for Telegram would redefine the parameters of what others might hope to achieve.

Analyst Joe DiPasquale of BitBull Capital said Telegram was well placed to take full advantage of its ICO, having become one of the most widely used platforms among cryptocurrency advocates.

“Many hedge fund managers are talking about the TON ICO ... Telegram has owned the chat space for those in crypto, and our usage of the app is increasing due to its security and ease. It’s become the platform of choice for crypto discussion, and they will have a lot of attention leading into their ICO.”

Current plans will see the launch rolled out in phases over 2018 and 2019, coinciding with additional development to the TON network.