Telegram Open Network data protection as a “cover”: SEC bites into Telegram

The U.S. securities regulator remains stubborn in the dispute over the planned Telegram blockchain TON. After the judge in charge had recently received a rush from the SEC to disclose the Telegram accounts, the agency is now making another attempt to gain insight into the messaging provider’s cash flows.

Previously, Telegram was asked to provide a schedule for delivering the requested account and bank details. The messaging provider has complied with this, albeit reluctantly. The legal representative of Telegram estimated that it would take five to seven weeks to collect the information requested. As a reason for the delay, Telegram stated, among other things, that foreign data protection regulations must also be taken into account.

The SEC does not want to accept this objection:

The defendants have now made a vague affidavit that makes it impossible for the SEC or, we believe, the court to weigh the true nature of the alleged burden of compliance with foreign data protection laws,

the SEC criticizes in its letter to the New York court.

A “cover” – SEC is not impressed

The authority further assumes that Telegram has lit a mist candle with its affidavit.

Telegram’s vague statement reveals Telegram’s broad, undifferentiated appeal to “privacy” […] – A cover aimed at withholding relevant, meaningful documents from the SEC.

Telegram also argued in its statement that the requested account and bank details were not useful for the Howey test. The Howey test is used in the United States to classify an asset as a security. The SEC rejects this argument.

The defendants are right that Howey provides an objective test to determine whether the Grams investors had a reasonable expectation of earnings. But it is also true that the parties ‘actions after the investment can serve as evidence of the parties’ expectations. […] So how much Telegram actually spent on developing the TON blockchain is relevant evidence that could support (or disprove) the SEC’s claim that buyers of Grams reasonably expect to benefit from Telegram’s efforts,

the SEC continues to argue. If investors can be assumed to have justified profit expectations, this would suggest that the Gram Token be classified as a security. Telegram would then have been guilty of selling unregistered securities.

Telegram gives a first overview of its expenses for TON

On January 7, Telegram submitted a first overview of the use of investor funds for the TON Blockchain (in thousands of dollars).

As a result, the messaging provider has spent $ 218 million of the $ 1.7 billion in the TON investment round in 2018. At 38 percent (around $ 90 million), the majority of the investments are in the ambitious “equipment” area.

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