Telegram Is Raising Money for ICO

February 23, 2018
Updated 7mo ago

This week's episode of Cheddar's Crypto Craze tackles the latest news and trends in this emerging market. Cheddar's Baker Machado and Brad Smith speak with Fortune Senior Writer Jen Wieczner about the latest headlines.

Bitcoin hovering around the $10,000 mark, but it is still down 50 percent from where it was in December. Wieczner says things are still on the upswing.

This week trading cryptocurrency on Robinhood's platform became available for free, but the roll-out has been gradual. "It's only in five states right now," says Wieczner. "There's still 1.4 million on the waitlist just to trade crypto."

Telegram is raising money for what will likely be the largest initial coin offering in history. The company confirmed with the SEC it has privately raised $850 Million for the offering, and reports say Telegram is planning a second round of private financing. Full Tilt Capital's Managing Partner Anthony Pompliano explains why Telegram has been able to raise so much capital.

"This is a team that has proven themselves," says Pompliano. "I think they've got a pretty interesting plan moving forward in terms of what they want to do with their money."

Roughly $4 billion was raised by ICOs in 2017, according to EY, compared with $6.8 billion raised through traditional angel and seed financing in 2017, according to PitchBook. Regulators are now looking to crack down on this growing ICO market. "This is new we haven't seen this before so I think people are trying to figure out the best way to participate," says Pompliano.

There's a new exchange in the crypto game, and it could have the power to shake things up. Users in five states can now trade Bitcoin and Ethereum free of charge on Robinhood. Meanwhile, Coinbase overtime has been considered the go-to place to buy the top cryptocurrencies. Boost VC's Founder and Managing Director Adam Draper explains what he thinks of this emerging cryptocurrency market.

"I actually don't look at them as competitors," says Draper. "Robinhood is coming at it from an asset management side, where Coinbase is coming at it from a crypto platform side. I think the long-term impact of both of these concepts is going to be vastly different from one another."

Draper was an early investor in Coinbase, and his fund is also an investor in the company.