Retail investors looking to purchase Telegram’s yet-to-be-released GRAM token will have to pay a significant premium when the public sale begins next week. 

Triple the Private Sale Price

According to a report by Bloomberg, Telegram’s unreleased GRAM tokens will be sold to the public at three times the price of what investors paid in the private sale. The Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT), which sets the price of token sales ahead of their release, pegged GRAM at $4.

The tokens will be sold by Korea-based Gram Asia on July 10 through the cryptocurrency exchange Liquid. The report claims that Gram Asia is “allegedly” the largest holder of GRAM tokens in Asia, while also stating that it’s unclear whether the company has even obtained legal authority to resell the SAFT. 

Larry Cermak, director of research at The Block, speculated on Twitter that the move by Gram Asia looks “exactly” like a retail dump,

Legality of Gram Asia’s Sale

Despite the sale occurring next week, investors who purchase GRAM from Liquid will not have access to the tokens until after Telegram Operating Network (TON) goes live in October. Cermak speculates that GRAM will constitute a security in most jurisdictions, particularly the EU, thereby entailing the coins to regulatory scrutiny–and calling into question whether Gram Asia can legally sell them in the first place.

Telegram, the messaging giant behind GRAM and TON, raised $1.7 billion last year in one of the largest initial coin offerings (ICOs) in history to support its native token. Private investors in the initial sale were able to buy GRAM at $0.38, over 90% cheaper than what the open market is set to receive next week through Gram Asia. Liquid has offered users a discount of $3.50 per GRAM if they use the exchange’s native currency QASH. 

Telegram To Compete With Facebook and VISA

Bloomberg reports that Telegram’s user base is over 200 million, and plans to launch their blockchain network TON in Q3 2019, ahead of Facebook’s libra. 

Pavel Durov, the self-exiled Russian founder of Telegram, claims that TON will enable transaction speeds superior to that of bitcoin and ethereum. He imagines the GRAM currency rivaling VISA and Mastercard in terms of use, as the messaging app looks to expand into a full-blown payment device. 

In addition to transactions, GRAM will be used to pay for digital services on the TON blockchain, such as applications and data storage.