After raising an astounding $850 million in a presale for its token, Telegram, a popular encrypted messaging app that was created by the same people behind VKontakt – better known as the Russian Facebook – has raised $1.7 billion, making it the largest ICO on record.
It managed to raise this staggering sum through a public token sale despite not having any plans to monetize its service. In fact, the company’s CEO, Pavel Durov, has explicitly said he plans to use the money to develop the Telegram Open Network blockchain, a payments system based off Telegram’s Gram token that he hopes will one day rival Visa Inc. and MasterCard.
Telegram recently passed the 200 million monthly active users mark, with more than 700,000 new users signing up each day. Despite this, Durov has said the company has no plans to try and monetize its users. Instead, he hopes to keep the app free and unsullied by ads for as long as possible.
Telegram raised $850 million from 94 investors in March after completing its earlier funding round in February. The company “may pursue one or more subsequent offerings,” the British Virgin Islands-registered firm said in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.
We imagine the news of Telegram’s success will help sooth nervous crypto investors following bitcoin’s worst-ever quarterly performance(once again, cryptos lead the broader market as the “just BTFD” strategy used by countless traders has been rendered obsolete).
“Raising the planned amount is a success for Telegram, given that the Bitcoin decline in recent weeks made investors more cautious toward crypto-assets,” said Gennady Zhilyaev, a former executive of Templeton Emerging Markets Group in Russia, who now invests in virtual currencies and initial coin offerings.
It’s also notable that the offering was so successful, considering that regulators in Japan are cracking down on Binance – an exchange that has become a haven for trading in ICO tokens – amid a broader crackdown on unlicensed exchanges following a massive hack at CoinCheck.