SEC files emergency action against Telegram Group over alleged $1.7bn unregistered digital token offering

Maria Nikolova

The complaint alleges that Telegram Group Inc. and its subsidiary TON Issuer Inc. failed to register their offers and sales of digital tokens called “Grams”.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that it has taken an emergency action and obtained temporary restraining order against Telegram Group Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary TON Issuer Inc. The entities allegedly conducted an unregistered, ongoing digital token offering which has raised more than $1.7 billion of investor funds.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Telegram Group and TON Issuer Inc. started raising capital in January 2018 to finance the companies’ business, including the development of their own blockchain, the “Telegram Open Network” or “TON Blockchain,” as well as the mobile messaging application Telegram Messenger. The companies 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 US purchasers.

Telegram promised to deliver the Grams to the initial purchasers upon the launch of its blockchain by no later than October 31, 2019, at which time the purchasers and Telegram will be able to sell billions of Grams into US markets.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that the companies failed to register their offers and sales of Grams, which are securities, thus violating of the registration provisions of the Securities Act of 1933.

Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, explained that the emergency action aims to “prevent Telegram from flooding the U.S. markets with digital tokens that we allege were unlawfully sold”.

“We allege that the defendants have failed to provide investors with information regarding Grams and Telegram’s business operations, financial condition, risk factors, and management that the securities laws require”, Stephanie Avakian added.

The SEC’s complaint, filed on Friday, October 11, 2019, in federal district court in Manhattan, charges both companies with violating the registration provisions of Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act. The regulator seeks certain emergency relief, as well as permanent injunctions, disgorgement with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties against the defendants.

Read this next

Retail FX

FX/CFD and Crypto broker Quantfury launches fractional trading of stocks, ETFs, commodities

“Quantfury is advancing its unmatched trading and investing conditions further by making it even more affordable to Quantfurians out there. Fractional trading mode opens up more trading opportunities to the Quantfury global audience of more than 400,000 Quantfurians.”

Industry News

SEC awards $20 million to whistleblower despite degree of culpability and reporting delay

The Securities and Exchange Commission has awarded a whistleblower with $20 million for providing new and critical information that led to the success of an enforcement action.

Institutional FX

Tradesmarter’s white label WOW TRADER integrates with TradingView

Tradesmarter’s white label trading platform solution WOW TRADER has integrated with TradingView, the high performance and mobile friendly charting tool.

Industry News

ASIC loses fee overcharging case against Commonwealth Bank of Australia

“ASIC pursued this case because we believed CBA did not have robust compliance systems to ensure customers were being correctly charged. ASIC will carefully consider the judgment and continue to work to ensure large financial institutions charge fees correctly and put their customers first.”

Digital Assets

Kraken pays $362K fine for onboarding Iranian users

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken will pay $362,158 to settle its civil liability for apparent violations of US sanctions on countries like Iran, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said.

Digital Assets

Bankrupt lender BlockFi owes $275 million to FTX.US

Distressed crypto lender BlockFi has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, nearly two weeks after halting withdrawals of customer deposits due to significant exposure to bankrupt exchange FTX.

Metaverse Gaming NFT

Astar Network powers WASM smart contract devs with Swanky toolkit

Blockchain innovation hub Astar Network is launching Swanky, an all-in-one tool for smart contract developers that bridges the elements of WebAssembly (WASM) ecosystem into a single interface.

Digital Assets

Crypto exchange AAX’s marketing exec leaves as withdrawal halt continues

Atom Asset Exchange (AAX) is losing Ben Caselin, its vice president for global marketing and communications, at a time when senior executives continue to leave the crypto exchange at a critical time.

Digital Assets

A Safe Platform To Trade Your Cryptocurrency

We’ve all probably wondered at one point in time if we should even bother with cryptocurrencies. Judging by the rapid demand for cryptos, it seems that it’s only just the beginning. Once we’ve established and decided that ‘of course’ cryptocurrencies are a market worth delving into, there comes the hardest question of them all: which crypto exchange should I go with?

<