Telegram Plans to Launch Billion-Dollar ICO, Sources Say

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

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.)

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. 

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi