Even as Bitcoin Languishes, Telegram Raises $1.7 Billion Ahead of Largest ICO Ever
Even while the fervor for cryptocurrency poster child Bitcoin cools, investors are still piling onto what’s expected to be the largest initial coin offering (ICO) yet—that of messaging app Telegram.
The five-year-old company, which has attracted users by touting its encrypted-messaging service, raised $850 million from 94 accredited investors in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late Thursday. That doubles a previous raise first disclosed in mid-February, adding up to a total of $1.7 billion raised by the firm incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.
And the fundraising might not stop there.
“The issuers may pursue one or more subsequent offerings,” the Thursday filing read.
The interest in Telegram, though, comes at a time when the price of Bitcoin is plummeting to new lows for 2018. Once as high as $20,000 in December, the cryptocurrency fell 6% to $6,600 on Friday.
Telegram did not respond to requests for comment from Fortune.
The firm is thought to be using the proceeds from the private funding rounds to build a blockchain network, the Telegram Open Network (TON). The network would allow Telegram’s 200 million users to pay for services on that blockchain, using the cryptocurrency Gram.
The fundraising comes at a time when the SEC has grown increasingly wary of ICOs. The Wall Street Journal reported in late February that the SEC had issued dozens of subpoenas to cryptocurrency-related firms.
The SEC declined to comment.