United States authorities file suit to suspend Telegram ICO

Telegram TON GRAM

"Our urgent actions today are created to prevent Telegram from flooding the American markets with tokens, which we assume were sold illegally", the SEC spokeswoman Stefani Avakian said in a statement. "Telegram seeks to obtain the benefits of a public offering without complying with the long-established disclosure responsibilities created to protect the investing public". The company also promised to deliver the digital tokens to the initial purchasers upon the launch of its blockchain by October 31, 2019.

The SEC states that the defendants sold approximately 2.9 billion digital tokens called "Grams" at discounted prices to 171 initial purchasers worldwide, including more than 1 billion Grams to 39 USA purchasers for around $424.5 million. The Telegram group started working on its blockchain project known as Telegram Open Network (TON) since January 2018. 171 investors took part in the ICO, 39 of them are USA citizens.

The complaint alleges that the defendants failed to register their offers and sales of Grams, which are securities.

Choosing to launch their network and native token without regulatory consultation was seen as a bold move from Telegram; however this appears to have backfired as the SEC has finally chose to "halt" their token offering. But Telegram never registered the sale, and as a result it broke the law, the SEC says, and may have to forfeit the $1.7 billion it's raised.

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"We have repeatedly stated that issuers can not avoid the federal securities laws just by labeling their product a cryptocurrency or a digital token", writes Steven Peikin, fellow co-director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, in a statement.

The company has not disclosed the details regarding its development work. Telegram had not publicly acknowledged that it was developing TON until earlier this month, after it informed its investors via an email that the platform would go live in late October.

Coinfomania: Where blockchain and cryptos live.

For this reason, the SEC asks to block GRAM on the evidence of a violation of the laws of the United States of America.

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