Telegram Said to Triple Price in Largest Initial Coin Offering

(Bloomberg) -- Telegram Group Inc., an encrypted-messaging service that just raised $850 million from selling rights to virtual coins, is tripling the price in its next funding round, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Telegram tokens it’s developing for users, called Grams, are being offered at $1.33 each in the new round that may close in early March, said two potential investors who declined to be identified, citing confidentiality agreement with the company. This compares with about $0.37 price in the previous round aimed at larger investors.

A successful sale would advance the prospects for Telegram, which aims to challenge rivals from WhatsApp to credit card companies, after an earlier stage raised $850 million from 81 investors, according to a regulatory filing. The second stage may also raise $850 million, according to one of the people and a different investor.

The total size of Telegram ICO may reach $2.55 billion since another sale to smaller investors is looming, Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper reported Wednesday. This exceeds target of $2 billion reported by Bloomberg News in January. The later stage may be priced at $2.40, one of the potential investors told Bloomberg, declining to elaborate on its size.

Telegram founder Pavel Durov, 33, is creating a payment platform using multi-blockchain architecture that could compete with Visa Inc. or Mastercard Inc., bringing digital assets to the mainstream, according to the offering proposals. The St. Petersburg native has distanced himself from Russia after resisting demands from the security services to decrypt users’ communications and ceding his VK.com social network to billionaire Alisher Usmanov.

Pavel Durov didn’t immediately comment to Bloomberg News.

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