Telegram’s initial bid to launch its “Gram” cryptocurrency has failed. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced today that in order to resolve charges of violating federal securities laws, it has ordered Telegram to return more than $1.2 billion to its investors, and pay a hefty $18.5 million civil penalty to boot.
In August last year, Telegram promised that its newly-announced Gram currency — which would operate with a decentralized structure similar to Bitcoin — would be ready to by October 31st 2019. Because the initiative was largely born of a $1.7 billion investment round in 2018, Telegram said that if it hadn’t delivered Grams by the end of October it would return investors’ money. So it was already up against a tight deadline.