As Telegram continues to spar with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over whether or not its Gram digital currency is, or isn’t, a security, the company has received one blow after another. The ongoing dispute has already forced a delay of the launch of the Telegram Open Network (TON), the blockchain solution for which the Gram tokens were to support, but Telegram was determined not to let the timetable get too out of whack. However, the panorama has now completely changed, with Telegram announcing that the official introduction of the TON will not take place until next year. As a result, investors now have the right to request a refund of their money.
Coinbase reportedly got ahold of a letter Telegram sent out to investors, which explained the latest in the ongoing saga. It confirmed that the blockchain project has been put on the back burner for now, with a new expected launch date of April 2021. Per the agreement Telegram made with investors, the delay activates a clause that could allow those individuals to request reimbursements of their funds, with as much as 72% of the money required to be returned.
Telegram obviously hopes that the requests won’t come pouring in. Apart from the fact that it needs the money to continue working on its project, it still is waiting for the final outcome of the court battle with the SEC, and will need to be financially prepared for whatever verdict might come down. In order to try to prevent massive reimbursements, it offered investors an alternative.
Instead of taking out their money, Telegram wants investors to lend the funds to the company for another year, for which they would receive additional returns. It explains in the letter, “As a token of gratitude for your trust in TON, we are also offering you an alternative option to receive 110% of your original investment by April 30, 2021, which is 53% higher than the Termination Amount.” Telegram adds that it is “continuing to engage in discussions with the relevant authorities,” and states, “Depending on how the negotiations go, those investors could still receive ‘Grams or potentially another cryptocurrency on the same terms as those in their original Purchase Agreements.’”
Telegram hasn’t gained any ground in its fight with the SEC, which may force some investors to consider taking their money out now. However, at least one investor believes they should approach the situation with a cool head. Sergey Solonin, who put $17 million into TON, thinks Telegram’s offer makes sense, explaining, “The terms are really good, I think a lot of investors will choose to keep their money in Telegram. There is definitely capital value there, and even if Telegram will ultimately not be allowed to issue grams, I think, in the course of this year, they can find an investor and pay the money back [to the token purchasers].”
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