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Telegram Plans to Launch Billion-Dollar ICO, Sources Say

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Popular messaging app Telegram is planning to launch the most ambitious ICO yet, according to sources familiar with the matter.

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Billion-Dollar ICO?

Various news sources have reported that Telegram is seeking to raise $1.2 billion through a crowdsale, easily becoming the biggest ICO ever. Currently, that title belongs to Filecon, which raised $257 million in 2017.

Total funds raised via ICO came within a hair of $6 billion in 2016, according to ICOData. Momentum is definitely on the side of projects like Telegram, which boast more than 200 million active users.  The sheer magnitude of the sale could be one of the most decisive steps any company has taken in bringing cryptocurrency to the mainstream.

Telegram’s possible bid to become the biggest ICO is compelling for another reason: the platform has become the de facto network for token raises to interact with their investors. The messaging app has become one of the most critical aspects of launching a successful token raise. (For ICO projects, it usually falls under the domain of community management.)

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It’s not difficult to see why investors would be captivated by a Telegram token sale. Whereas the vast majority of ICOs are startups selling a vision, Telegram is a global enterprise with enormous reach. All that, and it hasn’t even hit its stride in North America.

What We Know So Far

It has been said that Telegram is looking to collect as much as $500 million in a pre-ICO sale, with a total token value that could reach $5 billion. An official announcement could come as early as March.

In an ICO, a pre-sale is a minimum cap on investments to attract bigger players before opening the door to retail investors. The minimum buy-in during the pre-sale could be as high as $20 million, sources say, with U.S. dollars likely required instead of cryptocurrency.

The funds will go toward the ‘Telegram Open Network’, or TON, which will be a new third generation blockchain, according to TechCrunch. By adopting a native cryptocurrency, Telegram’s payment system could increase cross-border flows, facilitate micro-payments and reduce transaction fees.

It’s important to note that TON speculation has not been confirmed by Telegram. Although the rumors have been posted by several highly reputable news sources, the company has remained silent on the matter.

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 157 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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Telegram Officially the World’s Biggest ICO With $850 Million Raised So Far

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It didn’t take long for Telegram to shatter the ICO record for biggest crowdfunding campaign of all time. According to a recent filing, the popular messenger app has already raised $850 million out of an expected $2 billion.

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Telegram ICO Underway

The Tether company disclosed an amount of $850 million in a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The document indicated that the funds are being used “for the development of the TON Blockchain, the development and maintenance of Telegram Messenger and the other purposes described in the offering materials.”

The $850 million figure matches an earlier estimate of the total amount Tether intends to raise via private sale. Based on the same estimates, the company plans to raise an additional $1.15 billion via public crowdsale. A firm date for the sale is still unknown.

Funding is expected to hep Telegram expand its operations and devote more resources to development. Roughly half a billion dollars will be allocated toward infrastructure costs, such as data center, equipment and bandwidth. An additional $120 million will go toward staff, legal and office fees.

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The amount raised by Telegram easily shatters the ICO record previously set by Tezos, which raised $232 million. The only other coin projects to raise more than $200 million are Filecoin and Bancor.

ICOs Getting a Bad Rap

Initial coin offerings have received criticism from those who feel the crowdfunding model is a quick way for businesses to cover their bills. At their worst, ICOs feed on investor appetite without actually providing much of a business case. The tokens themselves become speculative investments, with the “utility” aspect dependent entirely on user adoption.

By offering up an ICO, Telegram has opened itself up to similar criticism. Although the company is an established brand with hundreds of millions of active users, it is struggling with high operating costs and an uncertain financial future.

To date, the details surrounding the Telegram ICO have come from third-party sources, with the actual team failing to provide much information.

Billions of dollars flowed into ICO projects last year; depending on who you ask, that trend intensified in 2018. Recent figures from ICOData suggest that startups raised nearly $1.2 billion in January. The same source reported more than $6 billion in total funding last year.

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 157 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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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 157 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 157 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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