EncryptoTel weekly digest (21.01.20)

Gram’s History of Creation, Dangers of Crypto Conferences in DPRK and Tips from LinkedIn

History of creation: documents of Pavel Durov’s interrogation leaked to the network

On January 7 and 8, the lawyer of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Jorge Tenreiro, conducted the first interrogation of Pavel Durov in Dubai regarding the TON blockchain platform. According to the interrogation protocol received by several media reporters:

  • Durov thought about holding a public offering, but because of regulatory risks, he opted for private rounds of financing. Only experienced investors and funds with a good reputation were invited to participate.
  • The TON project team tried to agree on a placement with the SEC only after the first round of funding. In just two rounds, $ 1.7 billion was raised.
  • From January 2018 to January 2019, about $ 218 million of the $ 1.7 billion raised went to the development of Telegram and the creation of TON, according to Durov. Most of this money — 41%, or about $ 89 million — went to equipment and servers.
  • Durov admitted that Telegram really paid commissions to Da Vinci and Gem Capital funds for helping to find new investors. The SEC claims that they acted as underwriters in the classic IPO.
  • According to the correspondence of Durov with Alexander Tamas, the former managing director of Mail.ru Group and DST adviser Yuri Milner, Durov came up with the name of his cryptocurrency Gram after a dinner with Milner. During that dinner, they discussed esoteric and LCD issues. What is meant is unclear: in terms of meaning, the liquid crystal display is hardly possible, it might be LSD, the hallucinogenic substance, but the correspondence says LCD (perhaps Durov made a spelling mistake). Durov says that at first he wanted to name the currency Ton, but then he thought that Gram fits much better: if the name is so lightweight, it will be psychologically easier for users to spend their coins.

In addition, last week the SEC sent Telegram’s internal communication with investors to the court. From the letters it follows that the project team initially considered the Gram tokens of the future TON blockchain platform as securities and knew about the gray market for their resale.

In an email dated March 6, 2019, Telegram’s employee Syam Pareh wrote to one of the investor’s accountants that the investor is entitled to 72 835 916.68 Gram and that “the fund has a clear right of ownership for such securities”, “will be entitled to receive Gram”, and that “securities are not under bail.” Thus, the Telegram employee himself called the Gram tokens a security, although now the company denies the fact that their tokens were sold under the guise of securities and it is not such an instrument.

Media: UN warns against participation in crypto conference in North Korea

A confidential report, which will soon be submitted to the UN Security Council, states that attending cryptocurrency conferences and forums involving the exchange of experience in the field of the latest technologies may be considered a violation of international sanctions imposed against the DPRK, writes Reuters.

A UN prepared report says that past cryptocurrency and blockchain conferences “included explicit discussions on money laundering and how to evade sanctions.”

“By supporting the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in the DPRK, it risks violating Security Council resolutions, as this will inevitably increase the DPRK’s ability to circumvent the sanctions and generate revenues, which will then be used to finance their weapons programs,” said an anonymous representative of the British government in a conversation with Reuters.

SEC warned investors about IEO risks

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a warning letter urging investors to exercise caution when participating in initial exchange offerings (IEOs). According to the regulator, they may violate securities laws.

“Be careful when investing in IEO. Allegations of new financial products, such as those related to the sale of digital assets, and allegations that IEO are approved by the trading platform can be used improperly and in order to stimulate sales with false promises of high returns in the new investment space. As described below, IEOs may be conducted in violation of federal securities laws and may not have investment protection compared to registered or deregistered securities, “the SEC said.

Previously, the SEC has repeatedly warned that many tokens issued as part of the initial coin offerings (ICOs) meet the characteristics of securities and therefore must be registered, although they claim to be utility tokens.

LinkedIn: the ability to work with blockchain will be the most sought-after skill in 2020

LinkedIn Professional Social Network has published an annual ranking of the most sought-after skills among job seekers. The top 15 hard skills first mentioned the ability to work with blockchain technology. According to LinkedIn Learning, blockchain outperformed technologies such as cloud computing, analytical thinking, artificial intelligence and UX design, ranking first as the most sought-after skill among employers in 2020 around the world.

Hard skills (“hard” or “hard” skills) — technical abilities or skill sets that can be clearly demonstrated and easily quantified.

As explained in the publication, the demand for a skill is calculated by comparing the demand for employees with that skill and market supply.

LinkedIn notes the huge potential of blockchain technology in terms of improving efficiency, security and reducing the cost of tracking all types of transactions. The rating notes emphasize that a number of the world’s largest companies, such as IBM, Oracle, JPMorgan, Amazon, and LinkedIn’s parent company, Microsoft, are actively exploring this technology and developing solutions based on it.

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