Encrypted messaging rival to WhatsApp wants to allow users to make payments using cryptocurrency
Telegram, a messaging app, is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency later this year following an “initial coin offering” that could raise as much as $500m.
Following a report from TechCrunch, Cryptovest has shared a leaked copy of the white paper primer detailing Telegram’s blockchain-powered ambitions. According to the document, the Telegram Open Network (TON) will be a “third generation” blockchain with more efficient transaction and scaling capabilities than current solutions like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Telegram says it expects to surpass 200m global users this year, and wants the money to help create a platform to allow users to make payments through its app.
Telegram Open Network would be the first western messaging service, which integrates payment into the texting app.
Outlined in a whitepaper, the TON is a blockchain protocol for the peer-to-peer movement of funds between users and to make purchases. This would interact directly with Telegram’s messenger app, which was created in 2013 at VK, the Russian equivalent of Facebook.
Telegram is understood to be considering raising as much as $500 million in the pre-ICO sale at a potential total token value in the range of $3 billion to $5 billion. However, those figures could change before the ICO, which could come as soon as March and this would make it possibly the biggest private crypto raise to date.
Several well-known companies, including many with no obvious link to the sector, have expressed interest in raising money through an ICO as it continues to remain popular with investors. A recent example of this is Eastman Kodak Company. It just announced that it has plans to launch a blockchain platform and its own virtual currency at the end of the month.
Another company that recently decided to switch focus to blockchain is Long Blockchain Corp, which announced a shift in focus that will have it working more on cryptocurrency than beverages.