Facebook And Telegram Set For Bitcoin Rival Showdown
Technology companies from phone-maker Samsung to micro-blogging platform Twitter have taken a keen interest in bitcoinand cryptocurrency this year, sending the bitcoin price soaring.
Facebook, the world’s largest social media network that includes messaging app WhatsApp and image-based Instagram, is scrambling to make its June 2020 launch date for its bitcoin rival libra against mounting regulatory scrutiny and internal strife. Now, WhatsApp rival Telegram has revealed libra member and crypto custodian for institutions, Anchorage, will add Telegram’s own answer to bitcoin, gram, to its lineup of supported assets.
Anchorage, which was named by Facebook as one of the 28 founding members of the Libra Association earlier this year, will allow institutional investors and organizations developing products and services on Telegram’s blockchain platform, called the Telegram Open Network, to store their gram securely when it launches next month.
Telegram attracted several institutional investors when it sold $1.7 billion of gram tokens pre-sold in two private placements in 2018–though regulatory scrutiny almost derailed its public initial coin offering. Telegram’s Gram Vault has already reportedly signed up over a third of the investors in Telegram’s early-2018 private placements but Anchorage is the first to offer U.S.-based institutional custody for gram.
Much like Facebook’s libra, Telegram has positioned gram as a new online currency and a way to move money around the world without the fees and delays associated with traditional payments. Anchorage has though played down what could be a looming showdown between Facebook and Telegram. “We don’t view gram and libra as competitors, but as complements,” said Anchorage cofounder and president, Diogo Monica. “Just as the dollar, pound, and euro happily coexist in the same financial system, crypto isn’t winner-take-all: there is already a vibrant ecosystem of many cryptocurrencies with different features and use cases, and that trend will continue.”
Telegram, a decentralized messaging operation, has taken a starkly different approach from Facebook to launching a bitcoin rival. While Facebook has assembled a group of companies to lend independent legitimacy to its fiat-pegged so-called stablecoin, Telegram has developed gram in relative secrecy–potentially provoking the ire of financial regulators.
Telegram is no stranger to government opposition and civil unrest, however, becoming one of the communication channels of choice for Hong Kong protestors looking to hide their identities from the Chinese government. “Gram and libra have completely different underlying technologies and are meant for different use cases, with libra primarily aimed at increasing global financial inclusion and Gram primarily aimed at facilitating in-app payments for its existing user base,” Monica added.
People who want to buy gram will be able to by purchasing existing grams on the open market, or from the TON Reserve, a system designed to try to avoid bitcoin-like swings in the market.
The first gram will be priced at $0.10, and every subsequent gram will bought from the TON Reserve will be sold for one billionth more than the previous price. The bitcoin price has a reputation for wild swings, something the likes of Telegram’s gram and Facebook’s libra, want to avoid.
“The free market price for existing grams may be different than the TON Reserve price set by the TON Reserve for new grams, and users are expected to seek the lowest price,” Monica wrote in a note to investors announcing Anchorage’s support.
“Users will turn to existing grams when the market price is lower than the Reserve price, and new grams when the market price is higher. The Reserve price will always increase with each new gram, while the market price will float freely.”
This article comes from Forbes 07/10/2019