Telegram is already one of the most popular (and secure) messaging platforms. But, the company is not content with serving just that one purpose for the consumers. It’s excited about the prospects of stepping foot into the blockchain ecosystem.
Thanks to documents detailing the project, it has practically been confirmed that Telegram has a new found ambition to build its own blockchain platform and cryptocurrency to take on existing cryptos. And what’s better than a ten-figure initial coin offering (ICO) to kickstart this proposed project, ain’t it?
Telegram ICO Plans
The messaging giant’s proposed blockchain project has been aptly-named TON (Telegram Open Network), a whitepaper and investor prospectus for which is already making rounds of the Internet. It states that Telegram is looking forward to a record-breaking ICO and raising a whopping $1.2 billion through its TON token sale.
Note: ICO, for those unaware, is known as Initial Coin Offering, and can be seen as a parallel to an Initial Public Offering (IPO), to let you buy a company’s tokens when it’s looking to raise money. ICOs are usually held in the early stage, unlike IPOs which are for established companies.
This token sale has been broken down into two stages, where the company plans to raise $600 million in a pre-sale event scheduled for next month and the other half in a public sale later in March 2018. The pre-sale investors will also be offered a 68% discount as compared to the public.
The former sale event will be a private invite-only session, that’d see participation from top executives and traditional venture capitalists (VCs). Whereas the latter is going to welcome retail investors, giving you a chance to jump on the hype train as well.
If everything goes to plan, it’ll be the largest ICO ever. Telegram would overtake Filecoin, a network of decentralized cloud storage providers, which raised around $257 million in its ICO in September last year.
Building The Platform
The white paper further details that Telegram is going to build its blockchain platform, that will also result in the creation of a cryptocurrency, from scratch. Yeah, from the ground up.
While most other tech giants are relying on decentralized platforms like Ethereum to build their cryptocurrency offerings, Telegram is not taking the beaten down path. The company is looking to create a blockchain platform of its own to rival Ethereum instead. It plans on building out a decentralized Internet with the blockchain blocks that it will create, leading others to build apps using the same.
Telegram is looking to build TON as a component that’ll come in handy for the creation of decentralized apps and services. It will eventually be made available to developers, which will make the TON platform as the gateway to a slew of upcoming blockchain-based apps. This has been described in the white papers as under:
TON blockchains aim to be able to “automatically split and merge to accommodate changes in load”. This would mean new blocks are generated quickly and “the absence of long queues helps keep transaction costs low, even if some of the services using the platform become massively popular”
What’s The ICO For?
Much like several other messaging platforms, Telegram is not looking to make its service paid for the consumers. But, the company picked up on the fact that its platform is being used the most for crypto-related discussions, thanks to its secure and private nature. Thus, it plans to launch TON and go ahead with its ICO, fueling the huge hype around its cryptocurrency. Talking about the same, the white paper says,
“More than 80 percent of collected funds will be spent on equipment, bandwidth, colocation, and user verification costs. The rest will be allocated for wages, offices, and legal and consulting services.”
So, the entire $1.2 billion capital that is expected to be raised will be used for the development of the Telegram Open Network (TON). It can be seen as the trendy new way to monetize the platform, where investors will receive TON tokens or so-called GRAMS, for investing into the upcoming blockchain services. However, it wouldn’t have a listing on any public exchanges until 2019.
Now, all that’s left to witness is whether Telegram’s ICO will be as triumphant as the hype surrounding it? What are your opinions on the company’s blockchain plans? Let us know in the comments below.
Reliance JioFiber with Free 100Mbps Internet to be Launched in March: Report Says
After several months of rumors, speculations and alleged leaks, JioFiber, the much-hyped Fiber broadband network from Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio, may finally see the light of day this March, according to reports today.
The JioFiber service could apparently launch as early as next month, as per a report in DNA. While the exact launch date for the JioFiber service is yet unknown, the story suggests that the company will look to disrupt the country’s broadband market with lucratively-priced high-speed offerings, just like it did with its LTE services back in 2016.
What we do know, however, is that Jio will offer India’s first large-scale, commercial Gigabit services, something the company has long been testing in at least 10 cities around the country including, but not limited to, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Ahmedabad, Jamnagar, Surat and Vadodara.
One thing to note here is that the March-end date that is being touted, is unlikely to be the full-fledged commercial launch of JioFiber. Just like it did with its LTE services back in 2016, Jio is expected to have a soft launch next month, whereby the company will offer free services to customers till the official launch at a later date.
Earlier rumors suggested that the pricing of the JioFiber will start at Rs. 500 for 600GB of data at 100Mbps, although, you’ll do well to take these figures with more than just a pinch of salt. It remains to be seen if Jio can do to the home broadband market what it did to the cellular market over the past couple of years.
The company already has a lot of goodwill among consumers because of the way it handled the roll out of its 4G services (all the petabytes of free data didn’t hurt either), so it will be interesting to see if the company can finally also democratize home broadband, which has traditionally suffered from slow speeds, reliability issues and absurdly high pricing. If it can, expect the likes of Netflix, Hotstar and Amazon Prime Videos gain even more traction in the days to come.
‘Drive-by’ Crypto-Mining Affecting Millions of Android Users: Malwarebytes
If you haven’t been paying attention to the rising scourge of crypto-mining scripts on websites hijacking your computer hardware to mine cryptocurrencies, you should.
From Facebook to YouTube, nobody is apparently safe from this growing menace, with recent reports even suggesting that thousands of government sites in the UK were recently targeted by crypto-mining malware. Now, security researchers at Malwarebytes are reporting that they have found evidence that millions of Android devices may have become part of the largest “drive-by crypto-mining campaign” targeted specifically at mobile devices.
According to the research published on the company’s official blog yesterday, the fact that most people do not use any web-filtering or security applications on their smartphones is being exploited by a section of cyber-criminals to run crypto-mining scripts for Monero (XMR), one of the leading cryptocurrencies right now.
“In a campaign we first observed in late January, but which appears to have started at least around November 2017, millions of mobile users (we believe Android devices are targeted) have been redirected to a specifically designed page performing in-browser cryptomining”.
The exploit uses forced redirects and Trojanized apps, which are not new, but in a curious bit of social engineering, they are honest about being crypto miners. While most cyber-criminals would keep this fact hidden, this new wave of miners is being clear about its purpose. The attackers claim the mining is being done to pay for server traffic, and will continue to do so until the visitor can prove they are human and not ‘bots’, by solving a captcha.
As can be seen in the above screenshots, the sites ask visitors to solve a captcha and till then will use the phone’s resources to mine Monero.
Malwarebytes has listed the affected domains and also the sites with redirect you to these domains. It would be wise to block these from your network if you have the know-how. Ominously, the company warns that the problem is going to get worse with more such mining attacks likely to hit the web.
“The first (domain) was registered in late November 2017, and new domains have been created since then, always with the same template”. With cryptocurrencies bouncing back from a slump off-late, it would be interesting to see whether this particular modus operandi will continue in the same vein even after its discovery.
New Skype Bug Could Provide Unrestricted Access to Hackers
A new bug has been discovered in Skype’s updater which can potentially allow hackers to gain complete access to a user’s system. First reported by security expert Stefan Kanthak at Seclists.org, the bug can be exploited to gain unrestricted access to every part of the operating system.
According to Kanthak:
“Once installed, Skype uses its own proprietary update mechanism instead of Windows/Microsoft Update…[Because] Skype periodically runs ‘%ProgramFile%\Skype\Updater\Updater.exe’ under the SYSTEM account, when an update is available, [the] Updater.exe copies/extracts another executable as ‘%SystemRoot%\Temp\SKY.tmp” /QUIET’.”
Kanthak goes on to explain that it is because of the aforementioned executable that the updater is vulnerable. Hackers can make use of DLL highjacking as the executable loads at least one DLL file called ‘UXTheme.dll’ from its application directory instead of loading its from the Windows system directory.
If a local user is able to place the UXTheme.dll or any of the other DLLs loaded by the vulnerable executable, the user will be able to gain access to the SYSTEM account. Microsoft has already ways to avoid the vulnerability, but Kanthak claims that the company’s developers seem to be ignoring the issue.
Kanthak adds that he alerted Microsoft about the bug back in September, but the company has not released a fix. According to Seclists’ reported timeline of the bug, Microsoft is expected to release a fix in a newer version of Skype, instead of rolling out a dedicated security update, as the latter option would be too painstaking giving the company’s development cycle.