Telegram has been in a heated court battle with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) following its $1.7 billion Grams initial coin offering (ICO). The SEC says the ICO is a flagrant violation of securities laws. Now Telegram has said they are delaying the launch of the Telegram Open Network (TON) blockchain by another year and simultaneously will offer refunds to investors, but there is a big catch for anyone seeking a refund.
Back in October Telegram promised that it would offer investors a 72% refund if there were any more delays, so now that another delay has been announced, Telegram is indeed offering investors the 72% refund.
This would mean Telegram gets to keep $500 million if all investors ask for the 72% refund.
However, Telegram is trying to entice investors to not take the 72% refund by offering 110% of their original investment, if the investors agree to convert their investment into a loan, and then wait until April 2021 to get paid back.
That being said, investors who opt for the loan will not be receiving that 110% in cash. They could receive the Gram token or ‘another cryptocurrency’, which is such vague wording that investors who opt for the loan could end up receiving worthless tokens.
Also, if Telegram doesn’t receive permission to launch the Gram token or ‘another cryptocurrency’ by April 2021, then the loans will be repaid with Telegram equity.
This may not be a good option, since Telegram stock is not traded anywhere. Teletram’s CEO, Pavel Durov, owns 100% of Telegram equity at this time. Further, if Telegram loses their court battle with the SEC, which seems highly likely, then Telegram equity value would drop significantly.
Ultimately, the best option for Gram ICO investors is to take 72% of the cash now, since if Telegram loses the court battle with the SEC then Telegram will be required to provide 100% refunds anyway. The 110% loan option could easily end in disaster, since investors could get a worthless crypto token or illiquid equity.