Telegram has raised an initial $850M for its billion-dollar ICO

It looks like Telegram’s billion-dollar ICO has reached its first milestone after the chat app company raised an initial $850 million, according to a filing.

A document submitted to the SEC earlier this week states that the money was raised “for the development of the TON Blockchain, the developing and maintenance of Telegram Messenger and the other purposes.” The security is described as “purchase arrangements for cryptocurrency” and the filing is signed by Telegram CEO Pavel Durov.

Read our earlier tale for full details from Telegram’s TON white paper.

This initial sum is most likely the pre-sale stage of the ICO which, as TechCrunch reported on extensivelyand in detaillast month, was targeted at venture capital firms and top figures in the investment community who were given deep discounts to buy Telegram’s Gram token. The pre-sale was originally targeted at creating $600 million, but demand pushed the above figures up to $850 million, according to a Bloomberg report.

Telegram initially planned to raise a further $600 million to develop its TON project via a public sale that starts in March, according to documents assured by TechCrunch, but it remains to be seen whether the above figures will be adjusted. Bloomberg previously indicated the public marketing component would expand to $1.15 billion, bringing the total created to nearly$ 2 billion if successful.

Telegram CEO Durov did not reply to an emailed request for commentary at the time of writing.

Either way, the sale promises to be the largest ICO find to date. The pre-sale figure alone tops all other ICOs held by some margin.

The sale represents the first outside investment in Telegram, which has been self-funded by Durov and his older brother Nikolai, who founded VKontakte, the social networking site often referred to as’ Russia’s Facebook.’ The duo fled Russia in 2014 after a fall-out with investors, who they assert had links to the government, and they afterward set up Telegram.

Demand around the token sale has been unprecedented, principally because of Telegram’s unique position within the crypto community. Its messaging app is used by the majority of ICO projects, with its group feature particularly popular among crypto watchers — that includes more shady parts such as’ pump and dump’ scammers.

Quartz recently reported that pre-sale investors are selling their allocation for upwards of double the cost, while others had stayed away from the sale out of caution. There has certainly been hype, with a bevy scammers setting up fake websites and campaigns to cash in on the interest, as TechCrunch wrote last month.

As for the project itself, Telegram is aiming to develop a series of services alongside its messaging app, including šŸ˜› TAGEND

Distributed file storage akin to services like Dropcoin and ICO company Filecoin

A proxy service for creating decentralized VPN services and TOR-like secure browsing surroundings based on the blockchain

Services for decentralized apps, smart contracts and decentralized web browsing experiences

Payments for micropayments and peer-to-peer transactions

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