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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Telegram’s billion-dollar ICO has become a mess

Telegram’s ICO was supposed to be a record-breaker to develop a platform that brings the decentralized internet to life. Instead, it has become a mess with the tightly controlled fundraising process in disarray as early backers sell their tokens for handsome returns.

The company recently canceled the public sale piece of its ICO, the Wall Street Journal reported this week, after it raised $1.7 billion from private sale investors, according to SEC filings. But the issues date back further.

Telegram’s grand vision is to build the TON (Telegram Open Network), a blockchain-based platform that extends its messaging app, which counts 200 million active users, into a range of services that include payments, file storage, censorship-proof browsing and decentralized apps hosted on the platform. According to the original whitepaper, the plan was to raise $1.2 billion using both invite-only private investors and an open sale to the public.

Telegram later extended the raise to $1.7 billion before it canceled the public sale altogether. That’s almost certainly because it had already raised enough money to develop TON without the risk of running into the SEC’s ongoing ICO probe by soliciting money from the public.

The result is that the ordinary people can’t buy Telegram’s Gram crypto token until it is released on exchanges. There’s currently no timeline for that. But, with massive demand for the messaging app and deep discounts for early backers, a secondary market for buying and selling tokens early has emerged — with huge returns already realized by some.

One source said an early investor who acquired a tranche of tokens at a price of $0.37 is actively seeking to sell for $1.30 — potentially a 3.5-fold increase for a token that hasn’t left the gate yet. TechCrunch understands many others deals have been closed at different rates but other middlemen are sliding in to profit, too. A number of ‘brokerages’ have moved in on the opportunity to connect sellers and buyers for a fee.

That’s just some of the examples of unofficial deals that are flowing as early backers who got Gram tokens cash in on demand, which has only increased following the cancellation of the public sale. Added to that, discounts of up to 50 percent on the token price have made it easy to return a big multiple.

Given the cooling off of the price of bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies this year, a three-fold return with no risk is not to be sniffed at.

Another source told TechCrunch that Telegram is aware of the unofficial sales but, since they do not violate any laws — because ICOs are not regulated — there is nothing that it can do but watch. The issue with early sales is that the market can influence, or even set, the price of a token through unofficial deals which could complicate listing it on exchanges or setting a post-ICO price.

Added to that, the fact that Telegram isn’t in control of the flow of capital at this early stage doesn’t look good.

The Telegram ICO has already raised considerably more than any other project to date — the nearest being Filecoin’s $250 million-plus ICO — but it has not set a shining example.

Looking beyond the messy sales process, the project has been heavily criticized for ambiguity. Pantera Capital’s Charles Noyes called it “opportunistic” with a white paper that is “essentially a wishlist of things they want to have, and how it will work assuming that their wishlist doesn’t crash and burn.” MIT Technology Review called it “bold but short on ideas,” while others have pointed out that much of the technical theory laid out in the document is recycled from other projects.

Telegram’s immediate challenges go beyond the ICO at this point. The Russian government has gone after the messaging app through crude censorship campaign that knocked out swathes of IP addresses — potentially as many as 19 million — in order to prevent Telegram evading its crackdown. That hammer-headed approach also knocked out services like Twitch, Slack, Soundcloud, Viber, Spotify, Fifa, Nintendo in the process.

TechCrunch contacted Telegram CEO Pavel Durov for comment but we had not heard back at the time of writing.

Disclosure: Jon Russell owns small amounts of cryptocurrency.


Source: TechCrunch

Watch these robotic soccer players play a nail-biter of a match

As a hater of all sports, I am particularly excited about the imminent replacement of humans with robots in soccer. If this exciting match, the Standard Platform League (SPL) final of the German Open featuring the Nao-Team HTWK vs. Nao Devils, is any indication, the future is going to be great.

The robots are all NAO robots by SoftBank and they are all designed according to the requirements of the Standard Platform League. The robots can run (sort of), kick (sort of), and lift themselves up if they fall. The 21 minute video is a bit of a slog and the spectators are definitely not drunk hooligans but darned if it isn’t great to see little robots hitting the turf to grab a ball before it hits the goal.

I, for one, welcome our soccer-playing robot overlords.


Source: TechCrunch

Want to Hunt Aliens? Go to West Virginia's Low-Tech 'Quiet Zone'

The 13,000-square-mile swathe of silence at the Green Bank Observatory is the perfect place for scientists to listen in on outer space.
Source: Wired

Figure Out Where You Are With Nothing But a Watch and Protractor

Teach yourself the basics of celestial navigation.
Source: Wired

'Lambchild Superstar' Is Social VR’s 'Rock Band'—In the Best Possible Way

Want to make music with a psychedelically gaseous cow? Soon, you will.
Source: Wired

Dell, HP may be building premium Chromebooks to compete with Google Pixelbook

Dell, HP, and three other manufacturers may be building premium Chromebooks to combat Google’s Pixelbook. The rumor is based on a master board design reportedly used by the Chrome OS team for a new wave of enterprise Chromebooks.

The post Dell, HP may be building premium Chromebooks to compete with Google Pixelbook appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Verisart brings blockchain certification to the global art auction market

Almost three years ago Verisart appeared on the scene with an unusual idea. It was going to use the immutability of blockchain to create certification to the fine art market. To literally verify and artwork was what it claimed to be. While the idea seemed a good one, the execution was probably going to be difficult. But founder and CEO Robert Norton, who had made previous attempts to drag the slow-moving and traditional art market into the 21st Century, persisted and has now bagged three major deals, the first in the auction market.

Verisart is now launching the “P8Pass” developed in partnership with Paddle8, to bring blockchain certification and authentication services to the auction market.

The P8Pass will be offered to buyers, consignors and partners in all curated and benefit auctions run on paddle8 .com. Each P8Pass contains detailed provenance information and functions as a unique fingerprint on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Paddle8 co-founder and President Alexander Gilkes says P8Pass “has the potential to significantly reduce transaction costs for the trade with art & collectibles and broaden the market by including new buyers encouraged by authentication process simplicity and transaction safety offered by the P8Pass blockchain product, the risks traditionally being the primary reason for affluent consumers to stay away from the art trade.”

Norton says: “The partnership with Paddle8 and the strategic support from The Native SA further extends our platform reach as the provider of choice for blockchain certification standards for leading artists and galleries and now auction partners.”

Verisart has been busy. It’s partnering with ArtSystems to bring blockchain certification to leading galleries worldwide, making this the first art inventory management platform to integrate this kind of blockhain-based certificate. It’s also launched a hallmark for bronze sculpture called ‘Bronzechain’ in partnership with DACS. This combines the use of a hallmark stamp with Verisart’s blockchain.

Other players are now entering this growing market. Codex Protocol is a new startup also putting art on the blockchain.


Source: TechCrunch

How to Interact With Robots Without Embarrassing Yourself

Researchers are crashing tiny drones into PhD students to make humans and machines get along better.
Source: Wired

Americans Are Falling in Love With Bike Share

But they’re not yet sold on dockless bikes, according to a new report.
Source: Wired

Nigerian Email Scammers Are More Effective Than Ever

By fine-tuning social engineering techniques and targeting small businesses, Nigerian scammers have kept well ahead of defenses.
Source: Wired

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