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Durov's code: blockchain company TON Labs raises $6M

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Startup Jedi

We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.

A year ago, most media sources broke the news that Pavel Durov closed his own blockchain platform project, Telegram Open Network (TON), and cryptocurrency called Gram. The development had been underway for 2.5 years, but was halted due to a US court injunction. In an official statement, Pavel Durov noted the political nature of the refusal and announced the final closure of the project for Telegram.

From 2018 until the SEC ban, Telegram Group Inc. and its subsidiary TON Issuer raised $1.7B by selling 2.9B tokens. Investors in Durov’s cryptocurrency include high-profile names of billionaires, large funds and business angels. Businessmen Roman Abramovich, David Iakobachvili (founder of Wimm-Bill-Dann), Sergey Solonin (founder and CEO of QIWI), taxi aggregator Gett, Ukraine’s largest bank PrivatBank, funds iTechCapital and Da Vinci Capital — the developer pledged to pay them all back in case of problems with the launch. At the same time, according to the sources, the investors understood the high risk of such investments.

The investor debt story for Telegram Group Inc. continues, but parallel to it is the story of the Free TON blockchain platform, launched by the Free TON Community, a community of developers and potential users of the cryptocurrency. Early last year, before the official ban, Telegram announced that the TON code would be open source and not controlled by the company. Therefore, the Free TON network is based on the work of Pavel and Nikolai Durov.

TON Labs, the company developing the Free TON platform, raised $6M a few days ago, with the main investors being Runa Capital and billionaire Leonid Boguslavsky’s RTP Global investment company. The founder of TON Labs, Alexander Filatov, told this news.

“It’s a very small investment, I want to see what the guys will do,” assesses his contribution Boguslavsky, who has confirmed participation in financing the company. For RTP Global, this is the first investment in the blockchain field.

Today, TON Labs employs 60 programmers, and the money received will be used to pay for their work. The platform has about 120 000 users — TON Labs expects that number to grow to 50M in 2021.


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