Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram, announced that Telegram has stopped working on the Telegram Open Network blockchain platform. He emphasized that he was unlikely to support alternative networks based on the development of his team.
Durov wrote that TON has been developed for two and a half years. It was supposed to surpass Bitcoin and Ethereum in speed and scale, while maintaining the properties of decentralization. According to him, the integration of TON with Telegram could revolutionize money transfers and information exchange.
He compared TON to a gold mining enterprise, and Gram tokens to gold. According to the analogy of Durov, investors invested in the enterprise, but did not want to mine gold for themselves, but wanted to profit from the sale of gold to others. That is why, he concluded, a US court has banned the distribution of tokens among investors.
The US court declared that Grams couldn’t be distributed not only in the United States, but globally. Why? Because, it said, a US citizen might find some way of accessing the TON platform after it launched. So, to prevent this, Grams shouldn’t be allowed to be distributed anywhere in the world – even if every other country on the planet seemed to be perfectly fine with TON.
This court decision implies that other countries don’t have the sovereignty to decide what is good and what is bad for their own citizens. If the US suddenly decided to ban coffee and demanded coffee shops in Italy be closed because some American might go there – we doubt anyone would agree.
Durov went on to say that people outside the US can elect presidents and parliaments, but are still dependent on the US for technology and finance.
The US can use its control over the dollar and the global financial system to shut down any bank or bank account in the world. It can use its control over Apple and Google to remove apps from the App Store and Google Play. So yes, it is true that other countries do not have full sovereignty over what to allow on their territory. Unfortunately, we – the 96% of the world’s population living elsewhere – are dependent on decision makers elected by the 4% living in the US.
Separately, the entrepreneur pointed out that some websites use his name or “TON” to promote their own projects, and urged them not to trust their data and money. Telegram developers have nothing to do with such initiatives, Durov said.
He expressed doubts that he would ever support alternative networks based on Telegram developments. According to him, his team has nothing to do with such projects. The first such network was recently launched by infrastructure solutions provider TON Labs and a number of large validators.
I want to conclude this post by wishing luck to all those striving for decentralization, balance and equality in the world. You are fighting the right battle. This battle may well be the most important battle of our generation. We hope that you succeed where we have failed.
Commenting on the Telegram decision in a conversation with Forbes, one of the investors said:
He built it with the money of investors, now everything will merge through an “independent association of developers” and Durov will leave everything to himself. He fooled investors on half of a billion.
Recall, on April 30, the day of the second deadline, Durov informed Telegram Open Network investors that there would be no launch due to a conflict with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the ban of the American court on the distribution of Gram tokens.
He offered them a deal: to take away 72% of the invested funds or sign a new agreement, giving the project the opportunity to launch the network before April 30, 2021. The last option involved either receiving Gram or another cryptocurrency as a result of the launch, or returning 110% of the funds. Durov was even ready to sell part of the stake in Telegram in case of failure.
Then, investors received several letters that changed the terms of the deal once again. In a separate letter, American investors were refused further participation in the project, leaving only the option to withdraw 72% of the funds. The others were notified that they would not receive anything in Gram and other cryptocurrencies.
In a subsequent letter, the last statement was revealed in more detail. Investors were offered to arrange their investments in TON as a loan at 52.77% per annum in order to expect a return of 110% of their initial investments in 2021.
For the first time, the TON blockchain platform became known at the end of 2017, however, in fact, Telegram confirmed its participation in the development of the project only in the fall of 2018.
According to official figures, during two rounds of closed ICOs in February and March 2018, TON raised $1.7 billion from 175 investors in the United States and beyond. Among the project investors are the structures of billionaire Roman Abramovich and Mikhail Abyzov.
Initially, the launch was supposed to take place before October 31, 2019, but the SEC through the court achieved a temporary ban on the distribution of tokens. Then Durov made the first deal with investors, setting up a new deadline.
The SEC believes that the sale of SAFT contracts, the distribution of tokens and the subsequent sale on the secondary market of Gram tokens would be a single investment contract that violates federal securities laws.