Telegram crypto project closes in on launch

Telegram’s cryptocurrency endeavor is advancing and should be ready for launch soon. The Block reports that it got its hands on an investor update that indicates the social media company’s platform is already at around 90% and that “only minor changes will be necessary” to the Telegram Virtual Machine (TVM).

Telegram launched a pre-sale funding round at the beginning of last year to introduce the new platform, the Telegram Open Network (TON), which is expected to compete with smart contract platforms such as Ethereum, EOS, Tron and others. It then held a second funding round in March and, between the two, raised $1.7 billion.

With the progress that has been made since late last year, when TON was only about 70% complete, the testnet for the project should be ready to be activated next month. The testnet will allow third-party developers to test-drive the platform and make recommendations before the live version is introduced.

Telegram created its GRAM cryptocurrency in conjunction with the network and it has already received a considerable amount of attention. 2.2 billion tokens were sold during the presale and there is a total supply of around 5 billion. Given Telegram’s reach – there are around 200 million users around the world – the company will potentially have a huge base upon which it can quickly ramp up adoption.

Some crypto insiders expect GRAM to quickly rise to become one of the top ten digital currencies. However, Telegram has been facing some resistance internationally. Its home country, Russia, decided early last year to block the application after the company refused to give up encryption keys to the government and Iran followed suit just one month later. Iran then banned the GRAM at the beginning of this year, asserting that it could undermine the country’s attempts at reviving its economy.

GRAM is expected to be listed on a number of exchanges as soon as the TON is launched. Telegram has reported that the token will be made available on Huobi, OKEx and Binance and the company is actively pursuing a different angle, working with a number of retailers and eCommerce merchants to participate in its native app store to be included in the Telegram messenger application.

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