Last month, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in favour of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in its lawsuit against Telegram for failing to register its digital asset, Grams, with the SEC. This was a major blow to Telegram, which had hoped to create a new, preeminent crypto-wallet seamlessly integrated into its well-known and widely-used encrypted messaging application.
While proponents of cryptocurrencies rallied behind Telegram in the wake of the ruling, it is important not to overlook the potential risk posed by terrorists, extremists, and other criminal actors who already exploit Telegram’s messaging service in furtherance of their goals. Telegram’s encrypted messaging application provides these actors a secure way to communicate, disseminate propaganda, and share illegal content, among other services. Providing them a means to transfer and store money anonymously could prove a highly risky venture.