The blocking in Russia of the Telegram messenger, possible in the coming weeks, if the service does not transfer the FSB encryption keys, is unlikely to have serious consequences for it. The country provides Telegram for only about 5% of users, and its blocking platform, which plans ICO, does not threaten blocking. The policy of refusing to cooperate with special services can even add confidence to investors. Telegram founder Pavel Durov continues to strongly deny the possibility of this, although the technological obstacles mentioned earlier are no longer mentioned.
The Supreme Court on March 20 recognized as legitimate the order of the FSB to provide keys to decrypt messages to Telegram. Roskomnadzor notified the messenger about the need to provide the FSB with the necessary data within 15 days. The lawyers of "Agora", representing the interests of Telegram, stated that they will appeal. Pavel Durov, for his part, assured that the messenger will not give out encryption keys. "Threats to block Telegram, if it does not give out personal data of users, will not bear fruit. Telegram will protect freedom and privacy, "he told Twitter.
How much locking procedure can take is unknown. Probably this scenario: if in 15 days Telegram does not share information with the FSB to decode the correspondence of users, Roskomnadzor can apply to the court with a demand for blocking.
Telegram can try to challenge the court's decision. If this fails, then after the second unfulfilled Roskomnadzor warning, the service may be blocked. You can bypass the lock using VPN services. In addition, on June 30, 2017, the Telegram team announced the introduction of the function "Freedom of speech", which allows you to connect to a proxy service to bypass the locks.
Earlier, service lawyers claimed that the fulfillment of the requirement of the FSB and Roskomnadzor to transfer encryption keys to Telegram is impossible in principle: they use an end-to-end encryption algorithm, in which regularly modifiable keys are generated on users' devices, and the transmitted messages are not stored on the service servers. "No one, including the software developer and the service administrator, has a technical opportunity to obtain or make duplicates of these keys," lawyers of "Agora" wrote to the UN special rapporteur on the right to freedom of speech, David Kaye (see "b" from 14 December 2017).
The blocking of Telegram in Russia will not become critical for the service, say the experts interviewed by Kommersant. In the country Telegram has about 10 million users, as Pavel Durov estimated in September 2017. According to AppAnnie, in 2017 Telegram took the 13th place among mobile applications by the number of downloads by Russian users. In the first quarter of 2018, the active audience of Telegram in the world could reach 200 million, Forbes reported earlier.
Telegram also plans to conduct an ICO for the development of the Gram crypto currency and the Telegram Open Network (TON) platform platform. During the closed pre-ICO, the project has already attracted $ 850 million from 81 investors, the report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission follows from the report. Another $ 1.7 billion Telegram intends to collect in the second round of the ICO, Vedomosti reported.
"Both the organizing companies ICO - Telegram Group Inc. and TON Issuer Inc.- are registered in the British Virgin Islands. Conducting ICO is in no way connected with Russian jurisdiction, "recalls co-founder of investment company Exante and founder of the hedge fund Bitcoin Fund Anatoly Knyazev. "Roskomnadzor can not block the blockade, and Telegram and without the Russian market will be fine: in the ICO, it has become much more popular in other countries," said Iconic managing partner Oleg Ravnushkin.
The consistent policy of Telegram regarding disclosure of data, on the contrary, can strengthen investors' confidence in the future of decentralized p2p messengers and other similar solutions, says the founder and managing partner of the platform for the development of the Simdaq crypto trading system, Evgeny Dubovoi. "One of the declared missions of TON is to ensure full decentralization of the network and, as a consequence, to exclude the possibility of blockages," he notes. At the same time, in the light of the latest SEC actions regarding the market of crypto-currencies and preliminary information on the volume of applications, Telegram is likely to refuse the public round altogether and will be able to close the entire planned volume within the current placement for qualified investors, concludes Mr. Dubova.