Rise of the Gram: Telegram Cryptocurrency May Rollout Within Weeks

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Popular encrypted messaging app Telegram is reportedly on the verge of publicly unveiling its planned cryptocurrency token, the Gram.

According to a trio of Telegram investors who have spoken with The New York Times, the instant messenger company is aiming to release the first waves of Gram tokens by the end of October.

The claims come after Telegram founder Pavel Durov said back in January that the TON network, the blockchain designed to underpin the Gram currency, was approximately 90 percent completed development-wise at the time.

Telegram ICO

Telegram had first announced its initial coin offering (ICO) for the project in January 2018. Within a few months, the social network had raised nearly $2 billion USD to build out the so-called Telegram Open Network. It was the second largest ICO in the space to date behind the EOS offering, which raised $4.2 billion during its run.

According to a separate report from Russian media outlet Vedomosti, another investor said Telegram intends to open up public tests of Ton as of September 1st.

The messenger powerhouse, which boasts more than 200 million users, envisions making the Gram the currency of choice within its own ecosystem. The company’s flagship app is already a mainstay among cryptocurrency communities of all sizes, and the ability to easily send digital currency within that app like a text message is likely to catch on with many users if everything proceeds according to plan.

Of course, Telegram will have to continue navigating the regulatory implications of its new would-be global currency, like social media giant Facebook is currently facing with its proposed Libra stablecoin. Facebook has received a wave of regulatory attention over the project, and some think Telegram could be in store for a similar treatment.

“I suspect that regulators will take a very close look at this offering,” cryptocurrency lawyer Richard Levin told NYT.

ETH-Gram DEX Appears at ETHBerlin Hackathon

One way or another, it looks like the TON network and its native Gram currency are getting closer to arrival. That mean these projects’ communities will have plenty of catching up to do when it comes to positioning themselves within the cryptoeconomy.

The good news for them is some efforts are already being made on that front.

For example, the decentralized exchange GramEth was presented as an ETHBerlin Hackathon project last week. As the builders of the DEX explained, it’s the “first-ever exchange that will allow making atomic swaps between TON and ETH.”

If the project continues to be built out, then TON users will have another viable way to exchange their Gram tokens for ether and vice versa in the TON network’s fledgling days.

Challenges Ahead for Projects Like Gram?

Cosmos, Algorand, TON, and Filecoin. These are a few of the big-name “Layer 1” projects that are entering, or are angling toward, their adolescence.

But in being new projects built in new ways, they are going to face novel challenges that earlier projects like Bitcoin didn’t have to endure. So explained Arianna Simpson, founder of venture capital firm Autonomous Partners, in a notable Twitter thread this week.

When Bitcoin first launched there were no incentives to attack it because it was essentially unknown, Simpson noted. But the opposite is true for larger cryptocurrency projects launching in 2019 and beyond.

“There are 10s if not 100s of millions of dollars to be made by attacking top chains, and that # is rising,” she wrote.

Of course, these new projects’ builders are aware they’re launching into adversarial environments and are taking various precautions accordingly. But Simpson’s point is that the attack surfaces are way larger now, and malicious actors have more financial incentives to take advantage of those larger surfaces.


William M. Peaster is a professional writer and editor who specializes in the Ethereum, Dai, and Biticoin beats in the cryptoeconomy. He's appeared in Blockonomi, Binance Academy, Bitsonline, and more. He enjoys tracking smart contracts, DAOs, dApps, and the Lightning Network. He's learning Solidity, too! Contact him on Telegram at @wmpeaster

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