Facebook’s Libra stablecoin project, although derided by regulators and governments, has had several positive characteristics. It has helped increase the overall awareness of cryptocurrencies, has helped lawmakers better understand them, and has also helped to put Facebook in check. However, it also had another benefit that has just come to light. Telegram was able to launch its blockchain without anyone noticing, not even regulators.
In a Decrypt exclusive, the blockchain and crypto news outlet points out that Telegram’s Telegram Open Network (TON) has been able to push forward. TON is expected to integrate blockchain-based payments for Telegram’s 365 million users and should be fully operational by the end of next month.
Decrypt highlights the fact that Telegram “dumped half a million lines of code for TON, hundreds of pages of new documentation, and a beta” on September 8. If the blockchain is able to do everything Telegram says it can do, it will become the largest blockchain launch ever. The only problem is, there isn’t enough time to figure out if it’s able to handle the capacity.
The news outlet says that it has contacted “over a dozen” regulators and central banks and learned that virtually no one was aware of it. When they reached someone at the German Central Bank, the Deutsche Bundesbank, Decrypt could only be told, “We do not possess any specific information on TON. That’s why we cannot comment on this app.” Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner stated, “Given we have not had the opportunity to examine the technology in-depth, we are not in a position to offer comment.”
The lack of awareness could spell trouble for Telegram and TON. Now that the project is starting to appear on radars across the world, regulators might be a little more prone to want to investigate deeper. Without having any oversight in place, a financial network could easily be manipulated for the benefit of a few, which is essentially one of the same reasons regulators have been leery about allowing Facebook’s Libra to advance.
Telegram says that no one needs to worry and that comparing Libra to TON does injustice to Telegram. The company’s chief technology officer, Mitja Goroshevsky, told Decrypt that TON is “just a decentralized blockchain” and that it isn’t interested in being a payment solution.
This will only do a little to qualm concerns. There is still the issue with Telegram’s issuance of a cryptocurrency wallet to all its users, whether they want it or not, to support the GRAM cryptocurrency. Blockchain analysts assert that this could be an issue and, if Telegram doesn’t have the proper know-your-customer procedures in place, might result in regulators turning all their attention away from Libra and onto Telegram. With that, Telegram will be forced to comply with regulations in different countries, or it might find itself in the same position as Facebook.
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