Messaging app Telegram, which has already raised $850 million in its pre-ICO, has reached out to supporters for a second round of pre-public funding. The enormous scale of fundraising puts it on track for the largest initial coin offering in history, with a potential market capitalization well over $2 billion.
Despite the momentum, some still question Telegram’s ultimate plans. While the app has been conpared to Facebook’s WhatsApp, it lacks an obvious revenue path in its current incarnation. Telegram claims it will use the funds to build the TON Network (for Telegram Open Network), a rival to the ethereum blockchain. However, skeptics note that such technology doesn’t exist, and claim it is using ICO proceeds mainly to fund its current, revenue-less business
Telegram is also under fire from officials in its Russia homebase. Security agencies there want to get a backdoor that will allow it to get past the service’s encryption. So far, Telegram has resisted, but the potential compromise could cause a migration by security-conscious users.
No date has been set for the public Telegram ICO offering. When it is completed, Telegram ICO investors will not receive their TON tokens until December at the earliest, which means it will not be listed on an exchange until 2019.
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