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Telegram Cancels 'Telegram Open Network' and 'Grams' Project

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May 13, 2020 | 

Dan Mitchell |  0 Comments| 

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Telegram’s CEO Pavel Durov has announced, in a Telegram post as well as one published on https://telegra.ph/, that Telegram has officially abandoned its ‘Telegram Open Network’ (TON) blockchain project and ‘grams’ cryptocurrency following a longstanding lawsuit initiated by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) in the USA .

“Today is a sad day for us here at Telegram. We are announcing the discontinuation of our blockchain project. Below is a summary of what it was and why we had to abandon it.”

In the Telegra.ph post, entitled ‘What Was TON and Why It Is Over’, Pavel Durov appears to believe that this was a politically motivated decision against Telegram, explaining that:

“The US court declared that Grams couldn't be distributed not only in the United States, but globally... 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… Today, we are in a vicious circle: you can’t bring more balance to an overly centralized world exactly because it’s so centralized.”

TON’s existence was first revealed when the project ran a closed ‘Initial Coin Offering’ (ICO) which successfully raised $1.7 billion in early 2018. This token sale has been the main point of contrition in a long-standing legal dispute between Telegram and authorities such as the SEC, CFTC, etc.

Regulatory scrutiny began last October, not long after Telegram had officially launched TON when it was hit with its first injunction by the SEC. The SEC believes that the ICO token sale that took place in 2018 constituted an unregistered token sale; which is against regulations.

Two weeks ago, Telegram announced that it would be delaying the release of its Telegram Open Network (TON) and grams cryptocurrency for the second time, because of the aforementioned lawsuit from the SEC. TON had been rescheduled for an April 30, 2020 release last year - which itself was a delay to its original release date.

This delay comes as the result of an injunction from a US district court judge who stipulated that the company would not be able to launch either the cryptocurrency or their network. Subsequently: Telegram offered its investors the opportunity to choose between recouping 72% of their original investments “as soon as possible” OR waiting a period of 365 days (until April 30, 2021) for the chance to receive 110% return on their original investment.

“Telegram’s active involvement with TON is over. You may see – or may have already seen – sites using my name or the Telegram brand or the "TON" abbreviation to promote their projects. Don’t trust them with your money or data. No present or past member of our team is involved with any of these projects. While networks based on the technology we built for TON may appear, we won’t have any affiliation with them and are unlikely to ever support them in any way. So be careful, and don’t let anyone mislead you.” - Pavel Durov, https://telegra.ph/

Just last week (May 7, 2020) a community-lead group calling itself ‘TON Labs’ launched an unofficial variant of the ‘Telegram Open Network’ called ‘Free TON Blockchain’ (link, ) - without express consent or permission from Telegram itself. Its purpose is to allow users to deploy, create, manage and distribute their own “TON-based” blockchains for both enterprise and consumer level applications.

This was widely reported as a fork however this is a misnomer, because the official Telegram blockchain had not yet been released (nor will it ever be released, it would appear). The open-source Free TON Blockchain was created to serve as a ‘proof-of-concept’ and was made up of a full blockchain and cryptocurrency in parallel to Telegram’s planned ‘TON’ and ‘grams’.

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