Telegram Offers Refunds to Investors Embroiled in Its Billion-Dollar ICO Debacle

The popular messaging platform Telegram is offering refunds to investors who participated in its $1.7-billion initial coin offering in 2018. The ICO initially promised investors its Gram token and a launch date for its decentralized network supporting the digital asset. But the platform, the Telegram Open Network (TON), repeatedly ran into delays. Its latest launch date has now been pushed to April of next year.

The ICO met swift regulatory rebuke when the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) moved to stop the Gram project last year and charged Telegram with running an unregistered securities sale.

According to a letter to investors on Thursday, published on Russian forum Smart-Lab, Telegram states that the project is on hold.

“Unfortunately, in light of the recent U.S district court decision, we are unable to issue Grams to you by the 30 April deadline date.” 

Telegram says participants can now choose one of two refund options. They can either immediately claim 72% of their stakes, or they can wait another year for 110% of their investment which will include a 10% bonus.

“As a token of gratitude for your trust in TON, we are also offering you an alternative option to receive 110% of your original investment by April 30, 2021, which is 53% higher than the Termination Amount. Detailed documents describing this option, including a loan agreement, will be provided shortly to those who express interest.”

Telegram ended up having to cancel the TON launch after losing an initial court battle with the SEC, which stopped the roll-out and the issuance of the Gram token pending a resolution. The preliminary injunction issued on March 24 remains in place.

The Telegram app has gained a worldwide monthly user base of over 400 million people. The app powers encrypted messages that allow people to communicate privately on their phones.

The company’s Gram token is designed to unleash an entire digital economy directly on Telegram’s Messenger by allowing users to settle transactions for buying and selling goods and services.

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