Telegram’s GRAM token passes the Howey test and is subject to regulation, says the SEC.
How far can a preliminary injunction from an American court reach? The answer to that question is everything for Telegram’s embattled TON blockchain project.
TON has been under legal fire since shortly after the SEC became aware of its token sale. The drama is ongoing as recently as this week, when a federal district court judge issued a preliminary injunction against Telegram for its ten-figure initial coin offering. The allegation is that Telegram’s GRAM token, operating on the TON blockchain, was illegally being sold as a security, and the judge effectively took the SEC’s side on the case.
Filing an opinion with the New York Southern District Court, Judge P. Kevin Castel wrote this week that “the SEC has shown a substantial likelihood of success in proving that Telegram’s present plan to distribute Grams is an offering of securities under the Howey test.”
The Howey test is a legal yardstick used to determine if a financial instrument meets the definition of a security — to pass the Howey test is to be named a security (and therefore be subject to regulation).
Now Telegram’s lawyers are firing back with their own paperwork in order to learn more. They wrote a letter to the judge to ask about the injunction in detail.
(The) Defendants respectfully seek to clarify whether the scope of the preliminary injunction set forth in the Order applies only to Purchase Agreements with U.S.-based investors. We appreciate the Court’s attention to this matter and are available should the Court require more information regarding this request.
In other words, their question is: does this injunction apply only to ICO investors based in the US, or to everyone?
Telegram raised $1.7 billion during its ICO, and a distinct majority of that money came from outside US borders. If the injunction only applies to US-based investors, it’s theoretically feasible for Telegram to launch TON anyway without American money.