Telegram has informed investors of a second private pre-sale of its cryptocurrency ICO despite raising $850 million in round one just a month ago.
Telegram May Raise as Much as $1.6 Billion
This week investors received an email from telegram CEO Pavel Durov informing them of a second pre-sale to the much-anticipated TON ICO. Though no exact amount has been determined sources are speculating that it will be around the same as the first round.
If so that would make it a record-smashing $1.6 billion raised before the coin is even offered to public investors dwarfing the previous high water mark set by Tezos at $232 million.
Durov’s way of funding is a change from the normal concept of an ICO as only accredited investors who are invited may purchase the discounted coins. This more closely resembles the traditional venture capital form of fundraising where most (if not all) of the discounted tokens are sold off to private investors before the public round opens.
This second fundraising round comes as Telegram and its proposed TON network are being scrutinized as short on technical details. The Telegram Open Network is to be an Ethereum like eco-system that supports apps, services and a store for both physical and digital goods.
Will the TON be Worth the Cash?
Much of the criticism of the proposed network is based on the company’s own technical white paper. The document describes a suite of blockchain based services including file storage, DNS service, and an ad exchange network with the ability to process millions of transactions per second but with no explanation of how.
Matthew Green, cryptographer and professor at Johns Hopkins University is impressed by some parts of the blockchain projects but finds many of the claims in the white paper unrealistic;
“I’ll be honest, the white paper reads like someone went out on the internet and harvested the most ambitious ideas from a dozen projects and said ‘let’s do all of those but better!’ It feels unachievable, at least at the scale they’re aiming for now.”
For Durov it makes sense to open a second round of private sales since the first was rumored to be well over subscribed and early investors are already flipping their shares for double what they paid in the opening round. How this second round affects the public round that was to open in March, and whether there will be any coins left for the launch is yet to be seen.