$1.7 billion: Fraudulent Company Registers To Exploit Telegram ICO Investors

  • Telegram's huge ICO has drawn attention from scammers looking to exploit eager investors. A sham company was found doing just that.
  • With high demand to participate in the ICO, the registered company would likely have claimed many victims if not discovered

Telegram revealed on April 6 that a registered company reported to be a part of their project was a scam.

The company, Telegram Open Network Limited, was legally registered in Britain on February 28, with Telegram founder Pavel Durov listed as the founder, director, and secretary.

The company claimed to have over $1.13 billion in capital, but suspicions were raised when Durov's citizenship was listed as British - Durov is actually a citizen of St Kitts and Nevis, a small island nation. He received his citizenship after donating $250,000 to the local sugar industry.
 

After magazine Calvert Journal reported on Durov's new apparent citizenship, Telegram spoke up and revealed that Durov had no connection to Telegram Open Network Limited, and that the company was a sham.

The company was named to associate itself with Telegram's new crypto project, Telegram Open Network, which will offer a range of services such as file storage and encrypted, decentralized web browsing.

The ICO has raised over $1.7 billion so far, and has been so large due to the key role Telegram plays as a chatting app in the ICO world, being seen as an industry standard through which potential investors can stay informed and ask ICO teams questions about their project.

British companies can be registered with relative ease, with the process done online and for under $20. Applicants provide their own details, which explains how Durov was so easily listed as the founder of the fraudulent company.

With huge demand for the super-ICO, which raised $850 million last week, it's fortunate that the company was outed before it had the chance to prey on investors desperate to get a seat at the table - people are already privately flipping their tokens for profit before the public sale has even begun.