Telegram is one of the few social media companies that made a grand entry into the cryptocurrency market. However, while other large firms that have done the same (including JPMorgan and Facebook) have been greeted with a barrage of attention for their efforts, Telegram has actually been able to continue working under the radar.
Developers love the concept that Telegram is ringing, especially with the Telegram Open Network (TON), the Fitf programing language, and the upcoming GRA token. However, even though the company has continued to make progress with every stage of its rollout being completed, it seems that people just don’t seem to care as much as they do about other assets, such as Libra and the JPMCoin, even though they all have various implications for people who want to buy cryptocurrency.
Now, it would seem that there is a bit of a reason to actually turn our attention to the Russian, Dubai based mobile messaging platform.
Last week, the Middle Eastern Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a non-profit analysis company based out of Washington, released a report detailing that the TON blockchain, as well as the upcoming GRAM token, could be a major tool in the hands of terrorist groups all over the world.
TON is currently in its final stages of production, if the updates from Telegram are anything to go by. GRAM is also set to be launched in the next few months, with each of Telegram’s estimated 365 million users, getting their own dedicated wallet to make easy, seamless asset transfers (pretty much a Bitcoin wallet, but for GRAM).
Given the massive user base, the smart money will be on GRAM to be an instant hit. However, as MEMRI has not voiced out, it is also possible for these concepts (GRAM and TON, that is) to be of a significant threat to the United States and global peace.
In the report, MEMRI claimed that just about every major terrorist group known to man, including ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hamas, and more, have dedicated channels on Telegram, which they use to source for funds to finance their terrorist acts all over the world.
In addition to that, Steven Stalinsky, the Executive Director of the non-profit, expressed some of his personal fears in an interview with news medium Decrypt Media. In the interview, Stalinsky highlighted the dangers posed by TONPayments, a platform that helps make quick, reliable, and efficient crypto-asset transfers and micropayments within the TON. While many have touted TONPayments for bringing fast and seamless, Stalinsky claimed that the payment portal would make it even easier for terrorist groups to receive and send funds.
He added that with TONPayments, donors wouldn’t need to leave the Telegram app to make payments, as the portal is set to be integrated with the messaging app proper. He added that while Bitcoin and other crypto assets are linkable to cryptocurrency exchanges or other traditional asset custodians, followers of terrorist groups will just be able to log on to Telegram and send donations via an untraceable conduit.
Decrypt Media notes that Telegram and its owners have been particular about privacy, and while the company has done its bit to restrict terrorist activities on the platform, no one has access to the private beta, and it is impossible to see just how deep this restriction goes.
Terrorists have been using Telegram for years now, and the MEMRI report provides several scenarios. However, as Stalinsky reports, the integration of GRAM and TON will make this even worse.