The Telegram team considered the Gram tokens as securities, according to a document published by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
In the document, the regulator makes reference to some messages between Telegram employees and investors it has accessed. According to them, the company's employees use expressions such as "sell Gram" instead of "selling the right to receive the token."
This has made the SEC conclude Telegram considered its own token as a security. Particularly, in a message sent by a company employee on March 6, 2019, he told an investor he was entitled to 72.8 million tokens, and in the same message he used the word "securities."
The battle between the SEC and Telegram began in October 2019, when the regulator decided to temporarily suspend the project's ICO as it considered its Gram token is a security, and that the company had not provided investors with information about its financial situation, as required by the US Securities Act.
As a result of this decision, Telegram found itself in a very delicate situation, as it had promised investors to return their funds if the Telegram Open Network (TON), the project's blockchain network, was not launched by the end of October. However, investors understood the situation and allowed the company to delay the launch. The scheduled launch date is now April 30.
In the meantime, federal judge Kevin Castel has ordered Telegram to provide information on its bank accounts before February 26, so it is still not clear whether the company will be able to launch its mainnet on time.