The Telegram Open Network project, which aims to develop a true peer-to-peer digital currency supported by a blockchain messaging solution, has unfortunately encountered various regulatory snags, and the latest obstacle will directly impact investors who are based in the United States. Americans who had previously invested in Telegram tokens, which trade under the GRAM symbol, will only be able to participate in the investment program until next year, and they will not receive the refund they previously hoped for.

Thousands of American investors had acquired GRAM tokens with the expectation of getting a 110% refund by April 2021; the TON program had other incentives to hold tokens for even longer periods, but the uncertainty of cryptocurrency regulation in the U.S. has prompted Telegram executives to reduce the number of American investors. A recent announcement published by Telegram explained that TON investors in the U.S. are only eligible for a 72% refund. American GRAM holders who do not cash out right away will be allowed to stay in the program over the next 12 months before getting forced out at the same 72% refund rate.

The regulatory problems faced by Telegram are similar to what many cryptocurrency development teams have been facing over the last few years. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has determined that initial coin offering (ICO) programs should be managed as registered securities when offered to American investors, but developers argue that cryptocurrencies do not fall under the same regulatory umbrella as registered securities such as stocks and mutual funds.

While the GRAM digital currency held a lot of promise in terms of technological innovation, some cryptocurrency industry analysts believe that Telegram should have implemented an existing token instead of creating its own blockchain network. Successful social networks and messaging platforms have a great opportunity to promote cryptocurrency circulation, but most of them are interested in creating their own tokens. The problem with this business strategy is that it continues to dilute the global digital currency market; moreover, the SEC is not likely to change its stance on digital currencies in the near future, thus complicating matters for developers who insist on launching ICO projects.