Telegram and its TON project
Telegram was developed by Pavel Durov, a Russian entrepreneur, and his brother Nikolai, a prominent computer scientist. The brothers earlier created VK.com, one of the largest social networks in Eastern Europe. Eventually, they fled their home country to become citizens of Saint Kitts and Nevis, an island country in the West Indies.
TON famously saw one of the biggest — albeit private — initial coin offerings (ICO) in the crypto industry. In 2018, Telegram raised almost $1.7 billion in two private token sale rounds. It is second only to EOS’ record-breaking $4 billion ICO — however, it is worth noting that TON’s offering wasn’t extended to the public due to evident regulatory complications.
A report by the Financial Times citing unnamed sources suggested that several leading investors from Silicon Valley, including Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins and Benchmark, were also interested in Telegram’s project. Allegedly, each of the firms was willing to put up $20 million towards the ICO at the start of 2018. However, other prominent investment firms that are associated with the fintech world, including Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners and Union Square Ventures, have reportedly revealed no intention to participate in the venture.
Also, according to rumors in Russian media, local billionaire and owner of Chelsea football club Roman Abramovich might have invested in the project. Meanwhile, only two native entrepreneurs — the co-founder of payment service Qiwi, Sergei Solonin, and the co-founder of dairy giant Wimm-Bill-Dann, David Yakobashvili — have publicly confirmed their backing so far.
As per TON’s white paper, which was reportedly distributed among investors around January 2018, the platform will be much more scalable compared to Bitcoin and Ethereum, which will allow it to compete with giants Visa and Mastercard in terms of transaction speed.
To achieve such levels of scalability, telegram group link TON purportedly relies on built-in support for sharding, a process that allows the splitting and merging of blockchains automatically to streamline transactions under increased loads.
Additionally, TON employs a technology called “instant hypercube routing,” as per the recent report, which also “aims to ensure that transactions are processed swiftly notwithstanding the size of the system.”
According to the white paper, Telegram’s blockchain network is a proof-of-stake (PoS), multi-blockchain system consisting of a masterchain and up to 292 accompanying blockchains. Essentially, this means that TON relies on validators (“miners” who are responsible for verifying transactions in the PoS model) and their economic stake in the network. Basically, after putting down a certain sum of cryptocurrency as a deposit, validators get rewarded by receiving transaction fees.
Gram price valuation and estimate
TON’s in-house cryptocurrency telegram groups is called gram. According to information presented in Aton’s research, the total supply of gram tokens “will initially be around 5 billion,” while the expected inflation rate is set at 2%, meaning that the total supply of grams will double to 10 billion in 35 years. The projection for the number of tokens in circulation all the way to 2028 can be seen below:
Supply of GRAMs and Number of GRAMs in Circulation, bn
Bitcoin telegram group
Further, according to Aton’s estimations, 200 million gram tokens are locked up by developers and 500 million gram are used as an incentive for the ecosystem, constituting 4% and 10% of the total supply respectively, as shown in the table below:
Calculation of Implied Indicative Value per GRAM
Since the gram token is not being traded publicly, it is difficult to estimate its true price. According to public sources, cited by Aton, during the second private funding round, the average price of gram was $1.33.
Estimates of what gram tokens may cost in the future also vary, but are believed to be in the region of $2.10 - $8.00, the research claims.
While the official trading of gram has not been launched by Telegram, a United Kingdom-based cryptocurrency exchange Xena Exchange is quoting nondeliverable gram futures (XGRAM), expiring at the launch of the token or in February 2020, at around $5.90 per XGRAM. The futures have so far been trading in the region of $1.8-$2.4 per gram, which is very close to the estimated valuation $2.2 for a token ahead of the possible Stage B sale.
Related story: Liquid CEO Explains the Gram Token Sale Is 'Natural,' Disputes Conspiratory Theories
Similarly, another cryptocurrency exchange, Liquid has announced that it will be launching a sale of gram tokens starting on July 10. A source close to Telegram told Cointelegraph that the messaging service is in no way collaborating with Liquid on their sale.