Telegram adopts super app features, resembling WeChat’s versatility in less than 13 words.

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Telegram, the popular messaging app with 800 million monthly active users, is moving closer to adopting an ecosystem strategy similar to that of WeChat’s super app concept. Telegram is developing a platform for third-party developers to build mini-apps that can be accessed within the Telegram app itself. To support this ambitious project, Telegram is partnering with the TON Foundation, its crypto partner, and Tencent, the owner of WeChat. TON Foundation, which operates independently, has announced a partnership with Tencent Cloud to provide the necessary infrastructure for Telegram’s mini-apps. This collaboration has the potential to greatly benefit both parties, especially Tencent, as it expands its cloud business overseas and taps into Telegram’s international user base.

WeChat, the Chinese messaging app, has popularized the mini app model, with millions of mini apps offering various services such as payments, food delivery, and e-commerce. Telegram’s mini app ecosystem, with its decentralized payments network, has the potential to reach an even larger global user base. While Tencent Cloud won’t be the exclusive cloud provider for TON, there are similarities between WeChat and Telegram’s mini apps, making it likely that developers currently using Tencent’s cloud service for WeChat will start building on TON. However, developers will need to familiarize themselves with Telegram since it is blocked in China. Furthermore, they will need to learn the programming languages of blockchain apps, which could be a more manageable barrier than comprehending the economic incentives of decentralized apps.

A partnership with Tencent could provide valuable insights into attracting users to utilize a messaging app for multiple purposes, as WeChat successfully did with its in-house payments system. Telegram, on the other hand, offers integration with multiple payment solutions and recently introduced a self-custodial wallet using the TON blockchain. This crypto wallet opens up various transaction scenarios in regions where centralized online payments are not available. It remains to be seen what lessons Telegram and TON learn from WeChat’s playbook and how their mini app platform with a decentralized twist will unfold.

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