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Telegram Asks Court To Block SEC Action

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Telegram Asks Court To Block SEC Action
Telegram Asks Court To Block SEC Action

Telegram responded to the United States securities regulator, arguing that Gram, the native cryptocurrency for the Telegram Open Network (TON), is not a security.

In an Oct. 16 filing, Telegram urged the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to deny the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) request for a preliminary injunction. Moreover, the firm asked the court to enter an order that maintains the status quo regarding the offer, sale or distribution of Grams. The filing is released two days in advance of Telegram’s ordered deadline to release a counterclaim on Oct. 18, the firm noted in the document.

About the SEC’s recent emergency action against Telegram on Oct. 11, the filing document claims that ”the SEC’s instant application is an ‘emergency’ of its own making.” Reiterating its previous claims, Telegram’s legal council wrote that the firm has been voluntarily engaged with the authority regarding both the TON blockchain and Grams for the past 18 months, but the authority has not provided any clear feedback on the matter. Specifically, Telegram stressed that the authority allegedly decided to do so because Telegram promised to reimburse its investors in case if TON does not launch by Oct. 31. The filing reads:

“Despite the SEC knowing for 18 months that if the TON Blockchain did not launch by October 31, 2019, Telegram would be obligated under its agreements with private purchasers to return the funds it raised, the SEC (i) never requested that Telegram delay the launch of the TON Blockchain; (ii) never advised Telegram of its intention to seek injunctive relief; and (iii) waited until the eleventh hour to file an ex parte application to enjoin Telegram’s launch.”

In the document, Telegram pushed back the U.S. securities regulator by claiming that its Gram token is not a security. The firm emphasized that Telegram already treated the Private Placement as a securities offering according to valid exemptions to registration under the Securities Act of 1933. Once the TON blockchain launches, the grams will merely be a currency or commodity like gold or silver, but not a security, the firm wrote.

Telegram also considered the ambiguity of Gram’s connection with initial coin offering (ICO) products, stating that Telegram has never issued a security to the public through an ICO. Telegram explained that instead of doing an ICO-like product, the firm entered into private purchase agreements with a limited number of purchasers that provided the future payment of Gram currency. The firm wrote:

“Unlike other digital assets that were offered to the general public through so-called Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”), Telegram did not — and will never — offer any securities to the public through an ICO.”

While informing that court that Telegram has decided to delay the launch of the TON blockchain, the firm concluded that there is no need for the Court to enter a preliminary injunction in the filing. As reported, in addition to declaring Gram token illegal, the SEC also issued a temporary restraining order on the issuance of Gram tokens, with a court hearing scheduled for Oct. 24.

Altcoin News

Rumor That Russia Will Investigate an Allegedly Fraudulent TON Offering in UK

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Rumor That Russia Will Investigate an Allegedly Fraudulent TON Offering in UK
Rumor That Russia Will Investigate an Allegedly Fraudulent TON Offering in UK

Shortly after lifting the country’s Telegram ban, Russian authorities began investigating potentially fraudulent offerings involving the company’s unlaunched token, Gram. The token was at one time meant to serve a new blockchain ecosystem known as the Telegram Open Network, or TON. Reports indicate that Russian prosecutors are set to investigate a British firm that allegedly sold fraudulent tokens related to Telegram’s terminated blockchain project. The news was reported on July 3 by the local news agency, Baza.io. 

According to the report, the action was brought to a local investigative committee by “several Russian entrepreneurs” that claimed to have purchased $11.7 million in Gram tokens. Telegram CEO Pavel Durov officially announced closure of the TON project on May 12. At that time, the Russian investors reportedly attempted to terminate their contract with the British company. Allegedly having Russian roots itself, the unnamed British firm reportedly wrote off $1.5 million in commissions, having returned just $10.2 million to investors, according to Baza.

This news comes soon after Telegram apparently settled its long-running legal battle with American authorities over the company’s $1.7 billion initial coin offering, or ICO. The ICO involved roughly $400 million in investments from United States citizens. On June 26, the U.S. court’s final judgment required Telegram to return $1.2 billion to investors. Telegram purportedly has already repaid the amount, with some U.S. investors confirming that they received a 72% refund. This amount is in line with Telegram’s original reimbursement scheme.

Russia’s interest in Gram comes against the backdrop of some meaningful regulatory changes. After two years of unsuccessful efforts to block Telegram messenger in the country, Russian authorities suddenly decided to lift the ban on June 18. The decision came just a few weeks before Russia conducted a seven-day long constitutional vote — the results of which could potentially allow President Vladimir Putin to extend his 20-year rule until 2036.

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Regulation News

A New Study Reveals Indonesia Was Hit Hard By Crypto-Centric Attacks

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A New Study Reveals Indonesia Was Hit Hard By Crypto-Centric Attacks
A New Study Reveals Indonesia Was Hit Hard By Crypto-Centric Attacks

Research from Microsoft reveals that Indonesia had the highest malware encounter rate across the Asia Pacific region in 2019. They conclude that this indicates a surge in cryptojacking and ransomware attacks. The report shows that the region continues to experience a “higher-than-average” encounter rate for ransomware and other malware attacks, posting figures 1.6 and 1.7 times higher than the rest of the world, respectively.

Indonesia had a 10.68% malware attack rate during 2019. While this does represent a 39% decrease, the figures remain two times higher than the regional average, Microsoft says. Regarding ransomware attacks, Indonesia is now ranked in second place in terms of encounter rate at 14%. This is 2.8 times higher than the average registered across other countries in the region. Cryptojacking encounter rates stood at 10% in 2019, two times higher than the regional and even global average. They had the highest encounter rate across the Asia Pacific region and ranked #4 globally. Haris Izmee, president director of Microsoft Indonesia, commented:

“While recent fluctuations in cryptocurrency value and the increased time required to generate cryptocurrency have resulted in attackers refocusing their efforts, they continue to exploit markets with low cyber awareness​ and low adoption of cyber hygiene practices.”

Microsoft Intelligence Protection researchers raised concerns about the increase of COVID-19 themed attacks across every country in the world. They note that there has been at least one incident per country, with the number of successful attacks in high-outbreak countries on the rise. Most COVID-19 related cyberattacks are delivered via malicious email attachments or URLs. Hackers often impersonate global entities with key roles in the pandemic like the World Health Organization, or WHO, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, and the U.S. Department of Health.

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Exchange news

UK High Court Shut Downs Allegedly Fraudulent Crypto Exchange

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UK High Court Shut Downs Allegedly Fraudulent Crypto Exchange
UK High Court Shut Downs Allegedly Fraudulent Crypto Exchange

The UK High Court has appointed the Official Receiver as liquidator of the cryptocurrency trading platform, GPay Ltd. According to an announcement published by the UK Insolvency Service on June 30, the crypto exchange showed signs of being “nothing but a scam”.

The firm, also known previously as XtraderFX and Cryptopoint, advertised its services online and through social media channels. The Insolvency Service claims that the ads falsely alleged the service was endorsed by entrepreneurs who appeared in an unnamed UK primetime TV show and a high-profile money saving website. After complaints received by the local authorities, the Insolvency Service proceeded with confidential inquiries into GPay’s activities. These revealed that at least 108 clients claimed to have lost around £1.5 million ($1.84 million) while trading on the platform.

David Hill, a chief investigator for the UK Insolvency Service, commented:

“GPay persuaded customers to part with substantial sums of money to invest in cryptocurrency trading. This was nothing but a scam as GPay tricked their clients to use their online platform under false pretenses and no customer has benefited as their investments have been lost.”

The Court also received reports that clients were denied withdrawal requests if they had not actively traded their deposited funds within GPay. GPay’s case concluded on June 23, 2020 with a petition presented by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, or BEIS. Recently, the United Kingdom Advertising Standards Authority, or ASA, and the Internet Advertising Bureau, or IAB, launched a new system to detect and remove fraudulent online ads.

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