PRESS: Abramovich invests in Telegram’s $850 mln ICO
MOSCOW, Feb 19 (PRIME) -- Founder of popular messenger Telegram Pavel Durov has reported to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the service raised U.S. $850 million at an initial coin offering (ICO) from 81 investors, including several Russian tycoons such as Roman Abramovich, business daily Vedomosti reported on Monday.
Two companies, registered on the British Virgin Islands, filed reports to the SEC: Telegram Group Inc. and TON Issuer Inc. Both are managed by Pavel and Nikolai Durov. The first investment was made on January 29.
The Durov brothers will spend the $850 million to develop messenger Telegram and new blockchain platform Telegram Open Network (TON) with own cryptocurrency.
The document filed to the SEC does not name the investors. On February 16, Sergei Solonin, a co-founder of payment system operator Qiwi, said he had injected $17 million in Telegram, and David Yakobashvili, a former owner of large dairy product maker Wimm Bill Dann, told Vedomosti that he had invested $10 million.
Several sources said Abramovich had also been among the investors, but no amounts were disclosed.
A total share of investors with Russian roots into the ICO does not exceed 7%, and a maximum contribution amounted to $20 million, a person close to Telegram said.
A source familiar with the deal said that Telegram did not hold an ICO in the usual sense of the word, but rather a private placement of securities in a usual currency, like U.S. dollars or euros. The investors purchased the rights for the internal cryptocurrency of the project, so-called Grams, but under a different agreement – they are just securities implying participation in future tokens unless TON is launched.
A token recipient will not have votes, dividends, or intellectual property. TON will be launched until October 31, 2019, otherwise investors will get their money back. The agreement restricts sale of rights for tokens or tokens themselves for 18 months.