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Is Telegram's ICO Overvalued? Here's One Way to Figure It Out

  • Aaron Brown looked at usage of internet websites and Silk Road
  • The tokens may be worth $200 billion in five years, he said
Illustrations Of Popular Mobile Apps And Social Media Sites

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg


Messaging app Telegram is finishing up the biggest digital token sale in history, hoping to raise $2.55 billion. Valuing it requires unusual computational gymnastics like pondering illegal weapons sales.

That’s according to Aaron Brown, a former managing director at renowned quantitative investment firm AQR Capital Management LLC. He owns Bitcoin, so digital currencies don’t scare him, but he’s passing on the Telegram deal, in part because it’s overvalued. But his thought process -- which involves everything from internet companies to Silk Road, the website that peddled guns and drugs for Bitcoins before being shut down -- is instructive.