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Telegram calls off their ICO after raising $1.7B
Encrypted messaging app Telegram canceled its widely hyped initial coin offering after drumming up $1.7B in investment, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The Russia-based startup initially planned to use their ICO money to fund a project called the Telegram Open Network (TON), which they claimed will usher in a 3rd generation of blockchain -- but then changed their mind.
“This ICO’s over -- everybody go home”
But why? Many crypto-creators split coin offerings into “presale” and “crowdsale.” Presales generate interest by raising a little money from private investors to keep the crypto-mining rigs on. Crowdsales are the main (public) event -- the classic ICO party that everybody’s invited to.
For Telegram, which has 200m users, presale went better than expected. Way better. Interest in their platform (pegged to an actual service, unlike many cryptocurrencies) was so strong that they received more than $1.7B in less than a year -- from just 175 investors.
No one expected Telegram to raise so much money…
Including the founders of Telegram. Before private investors blew their projections out of the water, the 2 Russian brothers/founders expected to make a humble 600m in presale and another 600m in crowdsale.
But after exceeding their total goal in presale, the brothers decided not to proceed with the public phase of the sale to avoid dealing with an ongoing SEC probe of ICOs that has been a thorn in the side of other cryptocurrencies.
Good news for presale buyers, tough luck for the rest of us
You might be wondering: “Can they do that?” The answer is: They can do anything they damn well please.
The Durov bros -- who also created Russia’s largest ($3B) social media company before being ousted by oligarchs -- are sitting on a pile of coin larger than the next biggest ICO (Filecoin’s $257m) by more than $1.4B.
As the rest of the world guesses what’s next for T-gram, presale buyers will be busy looking for ways to spend their coins -- which instantaneously increased 3.5x in value after the ICO was canned.
Smartphone maker Xiaomi readies for $10B IPO
The Chinese smartphone maker (pronounced she-yow-mee) has filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong, and expects to raise at least $10B, valuing them at $100B and making it the world’s largest IPO since Alibaba back in 2014.
The smartphone maker had a big 2017. According to WSJ, Xiaomi’s revenue rose 67% to $18B, and just south of $2B in operating profits.
But that monstrous valuation put a target on their backs
Valued at $46B in 2014, Xiaomi was once lauded as the world’s most valuable startup, becoming the world’s number 3 phone maker after Apple and Samsung.
But soon, brands like Huawei started copying their model, flooding brick-and-mortars with cheap, high-quality phones.
Xiaomi fell to 5th place in the local market. They were shaping up to be another company with a fast rise and even faster fall. Until 2016, when Lei Jun took over as supply chain chief.
They soon became a jack of all trades company, taking stake in hundreds of startups and selling more than 500 products and services, including scooters, drones, and luggage, to 190m monthly users.
Here’s to expansion
The company currently operates in 70 countries (recently beating out Samsung as the top smartphone seller in India) and is now hinting at moving into Europe and North America.
Of course, as US-China trade relations grow more contentious, whether they’ll make it stateside remains to be seen.
Global gold demand hits a 10-year low -- here’s what that means
Demand for gold dropped 7% in Q1 this year to post its weakest quarter since the ‘08 financial crisis, driven, according to MarketWatch, by lower demand for gold bars and gold-backed funds.
What does this mean? And why do people decide to keep their money in gold in the first place?
People just aren’t diving into pools of gold coins like they used to
Namely, because gold is more expensive. Gold was trading around $1.3k an ounce at the end of March (up from $1.1k at the beginning of last year) -- but, as far as the economy’s concerned, that’s a good sign.
The Guardian reports that gold demand surged in Q1 last year amidst political uncertainty. But, overall, as the global economy has improved, fewer and fewer buyers have been Scrooge McDuckin’ it.
Generally speaking, why are people bullish on bars?
Gold has a history of holding its value, so risk-averse investors typically gravitate toward gold when the dollar gets weaker, or the market hits the fan (a la 2008).
Jumping into the grocery aisle, Blue Apron surprises everyone and stays in business
Blue Apron, the grizzled veteran of the meal-kit delivery space, reported better-than-expected earnings, sending shares up 9% yesterday.
To be clear, the chain didn’t make more than it expected, it just lost less. But for the dirty Apron, whose value was in free fall just months ago, this stability is a win -- even if it means a trip to the supermarket.
A lot of the produce(rs) in meal delivery will go rotten
For meal-kit delivery startups, the cart is full. To stay competitive, many companies offer free first deliveries to incentivize new customers -- operating at a loss to do so.
But even the hungriest of meal-kit startups could only eat so much cost.
When grocery stores -- from Kroger to Whole Foods -- began offering meal kits in-store, meal-kit delivery services, which have higher fixed packaging and delivery costs, were forced to adapt or decompose.
So Blue Apron begged its way back into the Costco aisles
Cuz f*ck the haters, they’ll do what they gotta do. On top of the #pivot, they also cut costs, which should help their long-run revenue.
As part of an inaugural promotion, the first Blue Aprons to hit Costco shelves will be 30% off -- not quite as high as the unwanted 80% discount on Blue Apron stock, which is still down from its July IPO.