Those who buy Gram in the secondary market risk never receiving them if TON is not launched on October 31 of this year.
Between over-the-counter (OTC) market, sales in small cryptocurrency exchanges and at least one investment fund, a secondary market has stealthily flourished for Gram, Telegram's tokens not yet issued. This occurs before October 31, the launch date of TON, the Telegram Blockchain whose test version was launched in April this year.
However, there is a problem: according to the original purchase agreement, those who bought the $ 1.7 billion offer from Telegram between February and March 2018 cannot sell or offer their tokens in any way before launch.
In other words, there is a risk that those who buy the tokens in said secondary market will never obtain them, since according to the agreement, if the network is not launched on October 31 of this year, the Pavel Durov company will have to reimburse the USD $ 1.7 billion raised.
According to Coindesk, despite the restrictions, Grams' secondary market began even before the primary sale ended in early 2018.
More recently, he adds, OTC vendors have reached confidential agreements by Grams based on trust, OTC trader Vladimir Cohen told Coindesk. Often, sellers try to resell their chips to make a profit, since they have paid USD $ 0.37 per Gram in the first round or USD $ 1.33 in the second.
A third OTC merchant said that in that market only promissory notes are signed, a document that says the seller owes the buyer assets.
Exchanges in action
In June of this year, Japan-based Liquid Exchange announced a sale of Grams in association with Gram Asia, one of TON's original investors. However, it is not clear what happens if Gram Asia loses its allocation as a result of a public resale campaign.
The sale began on July 10 at USD $ 4 per token and was completed in a couple of weeks. According to the Liquid website, tokens purchased during the sale were subject to the concession: buyers will not obtain them immediately after the launch of TON, but in several installments: three, six, 12 and 18 months after the launch.
Seth Melamed, global head of commercial development and sales at Quoine, parent company of Liquid, said the sale of Grams made the exchange user base grow tremendously: around 25,000 new users registered in July, compared to just 5,000 New users in June. Half of them bought the placeholder chips.
Some small exchanges followed the example of Liquid: Upxide, a Korean exchange, announced that it was selling Grams in association with Liquid on July 14 and Bitforex, who have been accused of reporting false volume of operations, offered its users "Gram IOU".
Cohen also said that the secret in this secondary market encourages fraud:
Many of the merchants that offer Gram are not really investors in Telegram, and most of the over-the-counter offers are blatant scams.
Many of the buyers will end up with nothing when the network is launched, he warned.
“Special” investment vehicle
Another offer came from a great player in Russia. ATON, an asset management and investment banking company based in Moscow, which sent its clients an intriguing proposal in May.
According to Coindesk, ATON offered an indirect investment in Grams, in the form of shares in a specially created investment vehicle, New Technology Fund SPC Limited.
The fund offers investors access to future Grams, according to Coindesk, at the price of USD $ 1.33 per token.
While the offer could be a violation of the agreement with Telegram, investors who spoke with Coindesk noted a possible loophole that may allow participants to sell tokens to sell their allocation silently, which could be a way to hide the resale.