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New Details Emerge on Telegram’s Upcoming ICO

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New details about the upcoming Telegram ICO emerged over the weekend, giving potential investors a taste of what the messaging app plans to do with the proceeds it collects.

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ICO Target Rises

Telegram is planning to raise $2 billion through a combined public and private sale that sources say has already begun. Investors in negotiation with the company say Telegram is seeking $850 million via private sale this month, followed by a $1.15 billion public crowdraise in March. Previous reports indicated that the encrypted messaging services had set a target of $1.2 billion, although it wasn’t entirely clear if that also referred to the private sale.

Pre-sale buy-in is reportedly steep, with a minimum investment of $20 million being floated. Apparently, this is the amount private donors must pledge if they are outside CEO Pavel Durov’s inner circle.

The funds raised through public and private sales will go toward the Telegram Open Network, or TON, which has been described as a third generation blockchain.

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According to Gregory Klumov, a managing partner of Exante, demand for the Telegram ICO has been so high that a secondary market is already up and running.

“Some western funds that received a pre-ICO allocation are already offering to resell since the price of the public ICO in March will be twice as high,” Klumov said, as reported by Bloomberg Markets.

But with the good has also come the bad, with scammers flooding the market with fake Telegram ICO websites. TechCrunch has already outed a number of fake websites, including Gramtoken.io, which essentially carbon copied versions of Telegram’s whitepaper. The site, which is now offline, said the project had raised more than $5 million. Fakes such as ton-gram.io, grampreico.com and tgram.cc remain live, TechCrunch reports.

Where the Proceeds Will Go

Telegram is planning to allocate $620 million of the proceeds toward development, according to Quartz, which indicated a four-year expenditure cycle. Of the total, $500 million will go toward equipment, bandwidth and data center costs. An additional $120 million will be used to cover salaries, legal and office fees.

The team currently employs 15 developers, a number that is expected to increase as it plans to quintuple its monthly users by 2022.

The TON token is expected to launch in Q4, putting Telegram on a tight turnaround schedule.

Depending on how you define ICO, a $1.15 billion public sale still wouldn’t be the biggest of all time. The EOS paywall has raised $1.3 billion since June via rolling token offering, a system that releases a new batch of tokens every 23 hours.

ICOs emerged as one of the hottest markets of 2017, with billions of dollars pouring into several hundred projects. Although the token raises vastly differ in scope, many have lofty objectives to transform industries and remove financial intermediaries. Telegram diverges from many of these projects in that it is already a viable business. This fact won’t be lost on prospective investors.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 143 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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  1. jagrmeister

    January 22, 2018 at 11:34 am

    If you’re clueless enough to contribute to Telegram’s TON ICO, you get what you deserve.

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CFTC Warns Crypto Investors About Pump-and-Dumps

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Washington’s top commodity regulator has issued a stern warning to investors about cryptocurrency pump-and-dump schemes, which have become more prevalent in the wake of the ICO boom that began last year.

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CFTC Issues Warning

In a strongly worded release, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Thursday urged investors not to participate in pump-and-dumps, which are classified as a form of security fraud. The regulator said this form of fraud is easier to implement than ever before, with mobile chat groups and internet message boards becoming the go-to method for disseminating false or misleading statements about a particular asset.

“The same basic fraud is now occurring using little known virtual currencies and digital coins or tokens, but thanks to mobile messaging apps and Internet message boards, today’s pump-and-dumpers don’t need a boiler room, they organize anonymously and hype the currencies and tokens using social media,” the CFTC said.

The regulator added the following:

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“Some pump and dumps use false news reports, typically about a famous high-tech business leader or investor who plans to pour millions of dollars into a small, lesser known virtual currency or coin. Other fake news stories have featured major retailers, banks, or credit card companies, announcing plans to partner with one virtual currency or another.”

Lesser Known Coins the Target

In the world of cryptocurrency, pump-and-dumpers often target lesser known coins that can be bought for pennies. The hype machine then goes to work convincing speculators to enter trades as quickly as possible. In a market that added 3,300% in the span of a year, convincing the masses that it’s now-or-never is fairly easy.

Although it’s not always easy distinguishing which cryptocurrencies have been artificially inflated by fake stories, some possible recent candidates include UBIQ, Golem Dragoncoin, DigiByte and Verge.

Others argue that all cryptocurrencies are pumped and dumped because it’s almost impossible to determine their intrinsic value (if they even have one at all). The author believes this argument conflates true pump-and-dump schemes from the common perception that cryptocurrencies are in a bubble (it’s possible to be in the latter without being a product of the former).

That being said, investors should be especially weary of obscure coins that surge unexpectedly without cause or explanation. Although it may not be an apparent pump-and-dump, it could be a case of excessive speculation.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 143 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Barely Any Cryptocurrency Traders Have Paid Their Taxes

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2017 was an earth shattering year for cryptocurrencies as the total market appreciated by 3,300%. However, a new survey suggests the vast majority of U.S. traders haven’t reported their gains. In fact, the number of traders who have reported their crypto-related capital gains to the IRS is less than 100.

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Nothing for Uncle Sam

Credit monitoring company Credit Karma has released a report showing that, of the first 250,000 tax filings it received, less than 100 filers reported owning digital currency. Cutting through the FUD, it’s not entirely clear whether this number refers to 250,000 cryptocurrency traders or simply 250,000 American tax filers.

Given the extent of last year’s price rally, there should be more Americans reporting a hefty increase in their capital gains. Various news sources have reported that nearly 57% of respondents in a recent Qualtrics survey said they made money from crypto investments. The survey’s sample size was 2,000.

Cryptocurrency investments that result in profit are considered a form of capital gains by the Internal Revenue Service.

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Americans have until Apr. 17 to file their taxes. The IRS expects 156 million individuals will file returns this year.

Market Concentration

Although Credit Karma said it expects more people to report crypto-related earnings later in the tax season, nobody was counting on so few numbers. While gains were relatively easy to come by for “hodlers” – traders in it for the long haul – speculators may have had a more difficult time converting deposits into profits due to the market’s heavy volatility.

If we use bitcoin as a proxy, it’s easy to see that the market’s value is highly concentrated in a few hands. In the case of bitcoin, about 1,000 people own 40% of the supply.

One way to alleviate market concentration is to democratize cryptocurrency as an investment. The introduction of bitcoin futures last year was seen as a watershed moment for wide scale adoption, at least in the institutional sense. Several fund managers have also been pushing for bitcoin ETFs, but have so far been unable to overcome the SEC’s scrutiny.

The cryptocurrency market has been in a funk as of late, but finally appears to be showing signs of recovery. At the time of writing, a single bitcoin was worth nearly $9,500, the most since Feb. 1. The total value of all cryptocurrencies was $460.4 billion, according to latest data.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 143 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Weiss Ratings Issues Fresh Warning Over Tether Cryptocurrency

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Weiss Ratings has warned investors about the dangers of Tether, the high-profile cryptrocurrency startup that has been summoned by U.S. regulators to appear in court. Although no charges have been filed, Tether has raised suspicion over its close relationship with Bitfinex and the sudden spike in circulation of its native USDT token.

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Weiss Rating Weighs In

The Florida-based rating agency raised several warning signs in its evaluation of Tether, including a lack of transparency and virtually no proof that the company’s USDT tokens are fully backed by the U.S. dollar.

In a Feb. 12 blog post, Juan M. Villaverde issued the following statement:

“The big issue: There’s never been an audit, and the folks behind Tether has been quite shady when asked. They have continuously claimed their tokens are backed 100% by actual dollars, yet they have failed to present any evidence to support this claim.”

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The blog post also cited the growing belief that Tether is really operating a fractional reserve system. In other words, Tether’s USDT tokens are not fully backed by dollars.

Since issuing its ratings, Weiss appears to have launched an entire division devoted to cryptocurrency. The company rates coins from A to E, or scores ranging from “excellent” to “very weak”. No cryptocurrency received an A in Weiss’ first-ever cryptocurrency rating. B-rated Ethereum and EOS were given the highest ranking of 74 coins studied.

Tether’s Growing Controversy

Tether has been the center of enormous controversy in recent weeks after severing its relationship with auditor Friedman LLP. The decision raised fresh warning signs about the company’s finances and whether it had enough reserves on its balance sheet.

According to Bloomberg, Tether was issued a subpoena alongside Bitfinex back in December, although the details of the court order were not provided. It was later discovered that both companies operated under the same chief executive.

The USDT token is ranked 17th in terms of market cap, but is third-largest by trade volume.

In January alone, the supply of USDT tokens surged by 850 million, according to data provider CoinMarketCap. Some analysts have speculated that the token circulation has spiked to keep bitcoin prices artificially inflated, with more coins created every time the coin’s value drops. Based on this hypothesis, Tether has had an oversized impact on bitcoin prices over the past year, which means the company’s solvency issues could have an equal or greater impact on the market moving forward.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 143 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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