Messenger app Telegram's long-running and embattled blockchain project, TON, has come to an end, according to founder Pavel Durov.
Durov said in a message posted to his official Telegram channel on Tuesday that the firm's entrenched fight with U.S. regulators was to blame. The Securities and Exchange Commission sued Telegram last fall in an effort to halt the distribution of TON tokens to U.S. investors. That sale raised as much as $1.7 billion, as previously reported.
As Durov noted:
"Unfortunately, a US court stopped TON from happening. How? Imagine that several people put their money together to build a gold mine – and to later split the gold that comes out of it. Then a judge comes and says: 'These people invested in the gold mine because they were looking for profits. And they didn't want that gold for themselves, they wanted to sell it to other people. Because of this, they are not allowed to get the gold.'"
"If this doesn't make sense to you, you are not alone – but this is exactly what happened with TON (the mine) and Grams (the gold). A judge used this reasoning to rule that people should not be allowed to buy or sell Grams like they can buy or sell Bitcoins," he continued.
Durov issued a harsh indictment of the U.S. government and the degree of its global influence in the financial arena.
"Sadly, the US judge is right about one thing: we, the people outside the US, can vote for our presidents and elect our parliaments, but we are still dependent on the United States when it comes to finance and technology (luckily not coffee). The US can use its control over the dollar and the global financial system to shut down any bank or bank account in the world. It can use its control over Apple and Google to remove apps from the App Store and Google Play. So yes, it is true that other countries do not have full sovereignty over what to allow on their territory. Unfortunately, we – the 96% of the world's population living elsewhere – are dependent on decision makers elected by the 4% living in the US."
Durov also issued a veiled word of caution about projects that utilize the TON marketing or seek to tie themselves to Telegram itself.
"You may see – or may have already seen – sites using my name or the Telegram brand or the "TON" abbreviation to promote their projects. Don't trust them with your money or data. No present or past member of our team is involved with any of these projects. While networks based on the technology we built for TON may appear, we won't have any affiliation with them and are unlikely to ever support them in any way. So be careful, and don't let anyone mislead you," he wrote.
He closed by writing:
"I want to conclude this post by wishing luck to all those striving for decentralization, balance and equality in the world. You are fighting the right battle. This battle may well be the most important battle of our generation. We hope that you succeed where we have failed."