Russia will block the Telegram messaging app starting immediately, after a court in Moscow approved a request from the Russian media regulator.
The move was made after Telegram refused to give up the encryption keys they has used to scramble messages, and security officials reported being worried about potential terror activity on the platform.
It’s unclear what this means for the company’s TON network ICO, which already sold out its first and second rounds of pre-sale before it seemed a general public sale might not be on the cards at all.
TON was pitched as a decentralised internet service for wealthy investors, offering decentralised file storage, VPN, secure browsing, smart contracts and micro-payments.
The FSB, Russia’s main security agency, claims that Telegram is the primary messenger service used by “international terrorist organisations” in the country. The St Petersberg suicide bomber allegedly used the service to communicate with his accomplices.
The company was given a 4 April deadline to hand over the information, but said that the service was built in such a way that they didn’t have access to customers’ encryption keys anyway.
Telegram’s lawyer has dubbed the attempt to block the app “groundless”, adding: “The FSB’s requirements to provide access to private conversations of users are unconstitutional, baseless, which cannot be fulfilled technically and legally.”