So far, 2019 has already been marked as the year of cryptocurrency. Not only did the prices return to growth, and they even went halfway towards their all-time highs, but the corporate interest in crypto became apparent, as well.
Companies like Facebook and JP Morgan have even announced their own tokens, with a messaging app, Telegram, even moving ahead with its plans, and already holding its ICO. Its Gram token is getting closer and closer to the official launch, and the first 'batches' of the new crypto are scheduled to reach their buyers even before the October 31st deadline.
Of course, ICOs were not particularly popular with the press in the last few years. The increased amount of scams, weak projects, and other difficulties has brought a lot of negative press to the token sale model, and numerous startups suffered because of it. Firms that managed to raise their funds during the token sales had to either forfeit, or completely halt work on their coins.
Most people familiar with the crypto sector likely know of one particular case involving the company known as Kik. Kik, which launched its token, Kin, has been in a legal conflict with the US SEC for a long while now. Even Facebook's announcement of Libra token did not go well with the regulators, and the project took a major blow when the EU decided that it needs to be examined in the antitrust probe.
In other words, while this may be the year when the popularity and prices of cryptocurrencies grew anew, it is not the best time for the new coins and tokens.
With all of that in mind, Telegram's new plans to push its coin ahead of schedule do come as a slight surprise. The Gram token was actually announced last year, and the company even held a two-part ICO back in 2018. While the year was marked by a bearish market which brought the harshest crypto winter in the crypto history, the company still managed to raise over $1.7 billion from private investors.
But, a recent report published by the New York Times indicates that the company's major listing is being pushed ahead of schedule. The news outlet cited several anonymous sources familiar with the company's plans, which claimed that Gram token's investors would start receiving coins even before October 31st.
Furthermore, the sources seem convinced that the Telegram app will also make Gram wallets available to the majority of its users — two-thirds of them, to be exact. Telegram's app is already being used by approximately 300 million people, meaning that around 200 million of them should get access to the new wallet in the following two months.
Considering the size of the app's userbase, it is more than likely that Telegram's Gram token might become the go-to coin for making cross-border payments. It certainly seems like Telegram will enter the crypto business significantly earlier than Facebook and its Libra.
However, that doesn't mean that Telegram and Gram have already dealt with all the obstacles along their way. Competition is definitely still a major issue for the company, especially when it comes to Libra, which is currently still in the works. It is understandable why Telegram might be moving ahead of time, likely under the impression that Facebook is catching up.
However, another big issue is Telegram's lack of transparency, as well as the media silence. After all, while the amount of $1.7 billion which the company managed to raise is impressive — the ICO was only available to accredited investors. At the same time, the relatively small amount of Gram token that is already in circulation does not seem to be attracting investors and traders all that much.
Back in July of this year, a third-party sale of the token took place, but it was rather mysterious. The token offering was very limited, and it took place on an exchange known as Liquid. The number of offered tokens was unknown, but it was revealed that the tokens were held by a South Korean organization known as Gram Asia.
Meanwhile, the token currently lacks any real use case. Not only that, but the investors seem to be rather skeptical about it. Given all that, it is difficult to predict how the investors and traders might react, and whether the project will be successful or not. However, it does seem like the regulators will rush towards the token very soon, especially with the deadline coming closer.
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