Opinion: BITRUST on Telegram’s ‘Secret’ Second Presale

Being a part of crypto community, we closely follow developments in the crypto world. We are excited with the pace it is growing and boldness of the projects appearing and could not pass by the recent announcement of the secret second presale of Telegram. We would like to share our mixed feelings on the issue in a form of comment from our CEO Alex Duhamel.

 Crypto philosophy is all about transparency, universal contribution, and participation. Its ideals of breaking free from the unnecessary institutions and supervisions have attracted a lot of free-spirited idealists into the pool of crypto-enthusiasts. And I guess this was the reason why adopting Telegram messenger as one of their major means of communication was so innate.

Being a creation of a famous entrepreneur Pavel Durov, who was forced to sell his stake of VKontakte (a Russian “Facebook”) where he was one of the founders and immigrate, and his brother Nikolay, this messenger became means to belong to something revolutionary and truly great. It boasts end-to-end encryption and was claimed to be a pain for oppressive regimes around the world due to its high information security standards. That’ s why the news about TON, the “Telegram Open Network” which is intended to be a new, ‘third generation’ blockchain with superior capabilities, was such a blast.

However, from the very beginning, there have been a lot of ambiguity around the Telegram ICO of TON. The information about its possibility was leaked by a former employee in December last year — and this is when the hype began. It is understandable — Telegram is not a startup to be built from the round up. It is a well-established messaging platform used internationally with over 180 million subscribers base.

After the news about the published whitepaper of TON came in January, a new wave of scepsis arose at the truly ambitious and some say unrealistic plan. Additionally, there was a wave of scams — websites appearing and claiming to give opportunity for investors to participate in TON ICO — which was unfortunately met by a lack of an officially dedicated announcement or tweeting decrying them. Pavel Durov did warn the community against scams, however taking into account the magnitude of the problem, it felt like more effort should have been put into this.

Finally, it was announced over a week ago that the private presale round of the ICO was oversubscribed and raised $850 million, however the amount of $600 million was planned to be raised. That first stage was running from January to February, and only invited investors could participate. It is a normal practice to invite private funds and established investors to give a vote of confidence to the project with their investment. It is also encouraged by bonuses, as tokens can be bought at the discounted prices — fair enough.

However, what was a surprise when just a few days ago information about the second “secret” presale was leaked to the community. Nobody knows about its amount (another $850 million?), nobody knows how and if it will affect the public ICO amount and/ or its timing. So, at the moment TON tokens (Grams) are being sold in secret to a limited number of investors, which totally goes against the whole crypto community philosophy driven by completely different values.

According to the Verge, Charles Noyes, a quantitative analyst at the cryptocurrency VC firm Pantera Capital, said his team passed on Telegram’s private presale the first time around, (his firm did not get the offer for the second presale) and to him, the secretive Telegram ICO goes against the spirit of blockchain development.

“It’s very important in blockchain technology and specifically cryptocurrencies that you be very open with what you’re trying to do and have as many people as possible looking at it to see if they can find a flaw.. Not inviting outside scrutiny is dangerous,” Charles Noyes said. And at BITRUST we couldn’t agree more and we do share this sentiment.

 Some in the crypto community remain skeptical of TON, and there have been a lot of voiced speculation going on that TON is a way to monetize Telegram finally, which so far is claimed to be financed by Durov himself.

 It may not matter for the early investors if TON will deliver the promised and if the platform will work well — they will most probably be able to lock their profit right away, once TON token circulation will be opened up to the broader public. But for us, as blockchain community members, the news about the “secret” presale is definitely sad and casts a shadow on the whole project and sustainability of its success under such leadership in general.

 To finance the development and launch of the BITRUST platform, a limited-supply sale of BITRUST tokens (BTFs) will be created by BTF Project Limited. The sale will start on 5th of March— see more information about the BITRUST ICO structure and the company here.

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