''Telegram’s ICO will become one of the most successful in 2018''

Pavel Durov’s messenger is going to launch a blockchain platform with its own cryptocurrency

Pavel Durov's messenger is going to launch Telegram Open Network (TON) blockchain platform with its own cryptocurrency. In the authors' opinion, TON is comparable to a distributed supercomputer, and in the new decentralised economy, it can compete with Visa and MasterCard. The experts surveyed by Realnoe Vremya agree the platform can contain a threat to traditional financial services and also explain the creation of the project by the necessity to monetise Telegram.

''Cryptocurrencies, in general, contain a threat to traditional financial services''

Telegram is going to create Telegram Open Network blockchain platform, and Gram cryptocurrency is to become the foundation of its virtual economy. It is told in the messenger's white paper that was published on 10 January. To put it simply, the Telegram team is going to launch a tool to use the cryptocurrency that is intuitively understandable for people. The developers complain now the majority of the users face serious difficulties while trying to work with a digital currency and the market of goods and services that can be paid by a cryptocurrency is very limited.

At the same time, the situation is complicated because of a low speed of transactions with the already existing cryptocurrencies. For instance, it is 7 and 15 transactions per second for Bitcoin and Ethereum respectively. Pavel Durov's team undertook this problem: according to the messenger's white paper, the architecture of TON Blockchain will enable to perform millions of transactions per second. The paper's authors think the platform is comparable to a distributed supercomputer and remittance system, and in the new decentralised economy, it can compete with Visa and MasterCard.

''I think that cryptocurrencies, in general, contain a threat to traditional financial services, while Telegram is likely to have a system of 'from person to person'. This is why some central processing that Visa and MasterCard use won't be needed any more – the system will process all requests itself,'' says cryptocurrency coach Evgeny Kaminsky.

''It's the same as a cryptocurrency but with an example of the social network''

Famous Russian economist Nikita Krichevsky also agrees that the TON platform can contain a threat to traditional financial services. However, he specified the way Telegram has chosen isn't a pure cryptocurrency, it's a payment system: ''A cryptocurrency is an abstract Bitcoin on unclear trade platform where you can easily enter and bring money but you won't go out because there is no cash there. Some small change can be taken, but it's almost possible to get any sum from $100,000 back. And then, it's a pyramid. Everybody understands it – the last year's end showed it enough.

The payment system Telegram is going to launch is another thing. With the current development level of communications, it is technically difficult enough. In fact, there is an idea, and all background for its fulfilment has already been created. One needs just to take a seat, write programmes, test them, evaluate risks and gradually launch.

I don't exclude the payment system in same Telegram can consist of not only the quantity of money but also the quantity of followers – there can be different loans: you can reduce the number of subscribers but pay for something.

You can joint some loan unions inside Telegram, finance common projects, unite your financial possibilities and efforts. In fact, it's the same as a cryptocurrency but with an example of the social network. Facebook is also on approximately the same path now.

''ICO Telegram will become one of the most successful ICOs in 2018''

During the preliminary stage, Telegram's ICO intends to attract $500 million – the money will be spent to develop the network, purchase equipment and develop technologies. According to TechCrunch, ICO of Pavel Durov's company can be launched in March already. In expert Evgeny Kaminsky's opinion, it will become one of the most successful ICOs in 2018.

Pavel Durov's former colleague on VK and Telegram Anton Rosenberg, who told about Telegram's plan as early as late December, said to Realnoe Vremya he managed to talk about this ICO with tens of investors, from quite relatively small to big foreign funds. According to him, mainly the created a buzz and absence of any comments and official information from Pavel Durov helps it.

''Unfortunately, this new market is quite speculative, many investors have recently become rich and invest easy money by orienting often to just names, without seeing a white paper (the description of what is planned to be created and how and what risks can arise). They're interested in making money at auctions fast, but they're almost uninterested in the very product. So I suppose the very ICO will be successful. But the most interesting thing will start later,'' Rosenberg thinks.

''Telegram is a good product but it earns nothing''

It's also curious why it's necessary to launch such a platform. In Anton Rosenberg's opinion, the financial component is, undoubtedly, one of the main.

''Telegram is a good product but it earns nothing. And its outgoings, according to the published material, have already reached $70 million a year and increase at huge paces. Very Pavel Durov has recently said he had a total of 300 million after selling VK's shares in 2014. This is why it's natural the problem of further financing is very topical. And as Pavel Durov publicly promised not to sell Telegram and not to show ads, ICO is almost the only option to attract money, and almost without commitments. But the same documents show that the money raised for TON project will be mainly spent on further maintenance of Telegram messenger. Two times less money will be needed to create the new platform,'' Rosenberg said.

Cryptocurrency coach Evgeny Kaminsky also presupposed that the necessity to monetise the messenger pushed the Telegram team to create this large-scale project.

''Pavel Durov monthly paid the developers his own money, paid for servers and so on – he supported this project with his own money. It's clear that money has a limit. This is why it all is logical,'' the speaker thinks. ''Financing is the first task (the most obvious) that is solved. New users and new markets are the second. Opposition to the governments of countries that ban access to Telegram is the third task that they will have to cope with the help of blockchain and decentralisation. Consequently, having collected $4-5 billion, the messenger can become independent on external circumstances and become a big decentralised platform. Moreover, there already were precedents – there are Canadian messengers that reached ICO and raised tens of millions of dollars.

By Lina Sarimova