Telegram will launch its Gram cryptocurrency by October 31 or bust

Telegram’s cryptocurrency the Gram may be going public after all. The encrypted messaging app company plans to deliver “the first batches” of the coin in the next two months, according to a report at The New York Times.

The last time we reported on the Gram, it was to note that Telegram was canceling its initial coin offering (ICO), so the news may come as a bit of a surprise unless you’ve been following Telegram and cryptocurrency closely. But if you have, you’ve probably heard a rumor that Telegram has a hard deadline to make it happen: if it doesn’t deliver by October 31st, it legally forfeits the $1.7 billion it raised to make those coins a reality.

That October 31st deadline is real, according to legal documents reviewed by the Times, so the company’s trying to make those coins real, too, and as quickly as possible.

Users will apparently store them in a Gram digital wallet, one that Telegram plans to offer to all its 200+ million users around the world, according to three anonymous investors who spoke to the publication.

It’s not quite clear how regulators might deal with a new Telegram cryptocurrency, seeing how Telegram itself is a decentralized messaging operation that’s happily tangled with governments in the past. Facebook’s Libra is the closest parallel, but one based in the United States, and it’s already encountered quite a bit of early scrutiny.

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