And on January 15, SEC and Telegram made mutual petitions, asking the court to consider the case in an expedited manner. This means that the denouement is close, and both participants in the process believe in their victory. It's time to sort out the positions of the parties, because the outcome of this business largely depends on whether cryptocurrencies get a second life.
Let us briefly recall the essence of the dispute. The main contentious issue is how to consider the cryptocurrency of Durov Gram. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is trying to prove that these are securities, and Telegram, attracting investors, violated US laws because it did not register the placement. Telegram objects that it did not violate anything, since Gram is not a security, but a currency.
It is not easy to judge whose positions in court are stronger. SEC in the last round of proceedings presented a correspondence of Telegram employees, which, according to the regulator, proves that they themselves considered Gram a security. And also - evidence that the TON team knew about the Gram's circulation in the secondary market and even paid funds and companies commissions for finding new buyers for the cryptocurrency that was not yet released.
Telegram continues to insist that it is impossible to consider Gram a security, because unlike stocks, it does not give any rights to shares in either Telegram or the TON blockchain platform, and Pavel Durov paid remuneration to the funds not for reselling Gram, but for finding new ones investors to implement the project.
Now it all depends on whose concept the court accepts and whether he considers the SEC evidence sufficient for the prosecution. If the court approves the application for expedited proceedings, we will know the answer soon enough.
What did Durov say?
The Bell found the evidence of Pavel Durov in Dubai - at least the most complete version of all available. But quite a few important details have been extinct from it, probably for reasons of confidentiality. However, thanks to these materials, we still learned a lot about the placement of TON. Details about this - read on our website. Here is a brief retelling.
Why did Durov need money. Until 2018, Durov, according to him, had invested in Telegram what he had earned from the “timely” sale of VKontakte, and did not see any big problems in this. “I'm not one of those who need real estate ...” - he explained during interrogation. But since 2013, Telegram only demanded money, but did not bring returns. The TON blockchain platform seemed to Durov the most successful option for monetizing the messenger.
What did $ 1.7 billion go for - how many Durov attracted from investors to develop the TON blockchain platform. On TON and at the same time on Telegram, Durov spent about $ 218 million of $ 1.7 billion. He does not share the costs of both projects - after all, both TON and Telegram are developed by the same people and work on the same servers and equipment. More than 40% of the spent, or about $ 87 million, was spent on equipment, and since October last year, the team spent another $ 10 million on servers and related costs.
Why sell Gram to a wide circle of investors. In order for the blockchain to work stably after launch, it needs more than 20 validators - participants of the platform who assure transactions. Only a participant with at least 100 thousand Gram can become a validator in TON, who will also take part in a special auction. The Telegram team itself does not plan to become validators.
Why did Telegram pay the funds. Durov admitted that Telegram paid remuneration to the funds - Da Vinci and Gem Capital (both funds are TON investors), but not as underwriters, but as companies that helped Telegram look for new investors (Durov calls it finders fees).
Who works at Telegram. About 30 people, most of whom are programmers. Almost all developers work simultaneously on the development of the messenger and on the blockchain.