Newly published court documents reveal that an anonymous venture capital firm identified as “Investor F” sought to have evidence redacted from the first court hearing for the dispute between the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Telegram.
On Feb, 18, Investor F asserted that emails directly requested by the SEC contain “confidential and commercially sensitive documents” detailing the firm’s strategic considerations regarding prospective cryptocurrency investments and custody solutions. The request states that the firm operates in a “highly competitive market” in which “discussions about investment strategy are commercially sensitive.”
Investor F sought that the SEC be permitted to “redact both the commercially sensitive information contained therein, as well as any identifying information from Exhibit B, including Investor F’s name, the names of its employees, and other references throughout the document that would enable Investor F’s competition to discern its true identity.”
‘The Tenreiro Letter’
Specifically, the VC firm discusses “the Tenreiro Letter,” which “reflects a lengthy and substantive internal discussion during November 2018 among Investor F personnel relating to the Telegram deal.”
The Tenreiro letter, which is included among evidence against Telegram brought forward by the SEC, is said to contain confidential discussions regarding evaluations as to whether the firm should participate as a validator on the Telegram network, and the evaluation of prospective custody solutions for storing Gram tokens. Investor F asserts that the email discussion was kept confidential due to such constituting “valuable business secrets”:
“That evaluation process requires Investor F’s personnel to have frank and open internal discussions about investment strategy—including by email—which may touch on the amount of Investor F’s potential investments, the benefits and risks of certain investments, and how to handle technical issues that may be unique to certain opportunities.”
The firm asserts that it is appropriate to seal confidential proprietary information where disclosure would cause competitive harm to any party or non-party, arguing that “courts have repeatedly granted confidential treatment to sensitive business information where disclosure would cause the producing party competitive harm” in the past.
Judge to determine Telegram case by April 30
Telegram’s initial coin offering (ICO) for its forthcoming Telegram Open Network was halted by the SEC last October for alleged violations to the Securities Act of 1933.
The following week, an injunction was imposed blocking Telegram from distributing its Gram tokens to investors — which was extended until April 30 following the case’s first hearing on Feb. 19.
A clause in the Gram purchase agreement states that ICO participants can claim a refund if Telegram does not launch the network before that date, however, the Feb. 19 hearing saw the deadline postponed for the second time.