Telegram moving closer to WeChat with its decentralized ecosystem

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Telegram moving closer to WeChat with its decentralized ecosystem

Telegram, the messaging app with 800 million monthly active users worldwide, is inching closer to adopting an ecosystem strategy that is reminiscent of WeChat's super app approach. Some aspects of the ecosystem will be decentralized with help from two influential individuals: Telegram's crypto partner TON Foundation and WeChat's owner Tencent.

Telegram's super app platform consists of a network of infrastructure partners from the established tech world and the crypto world. The Open Network Foundation is among them, which lays the blockchain foundation for Telegram but operates as an independent organization.

This week, TON Foundation announced it's forming a partnership with Tencent Cloud, which has already successfully supported TON validators and plans to expand its services further to help meet TON's high compute intensity and network bandwidth needs. Validators, in web3 lingo, are participants that assist in verifying transactions in a blockchain network.

Tencent has been stepping up its overseas expansion efforts as a result of slowing growth in China's tech sector. Crypto conferences, among other tech conventions, have been the scene of its cloud computing business in recent months. Telegram's mini-app marketplace may be worth it if it succeeds in its Chinese rival.

WeChat has invented the mini app model in China and now powers millions of them, serving various functions such as payments, food delivery, e-commerce, and ride-hailing, among others. With a decentralized payment network, Telegram's mini-app ecosystem has the capacity to reach a wider range of users across the globe.

's cloud service will begin to build on TON,' said Justin Hyun, head of growth at TON Foundation.

It's unclear how many developers building for WeChat's China users are able to capture the diverse needs of Telegram's international community. Mobile game creators may have the most transferrable skills, given that many of them are already marketing in overseas markets. If Telegram has been blocked in China, many developers will need to familiarize themselves with the application before they can develop meaningful applications for the platform.

The developers will also need to learn the programming languages of blockchain apps, which might actually be an easier obstacle than the process of understanding the economic incentives that facilitate decentralized applications.

However, Tencent's collaboration could offer insights into entticing people to use messenger for a variety of other purposes. The payment feature was essential in WeChat's early rise, as it established a routine among users to make daily transactions through the chat app.

With its in-house payments system WeChat has turned it into a cash cow for Tencent, Telegram has integrated with 20 payment solutions and takes no commission through its Bot Payments API. Telegram has welcomed a self-curstodial wallet that is independently developed by The Open Platform using the TON blockchain, which is not only Google Pay but also Apple Pay. Crypto wallets can bring a variety of transaction options to regions where centralized online payments are not available.

It will be fascinating to witness what lessons Telegram and TON take from WeChat and how a mini-app platform with a decentralized twist blossoms.