Telegram's mini-app ecosystem similar to WeChat'

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Telegram's mini-app ecosystem similar to WeChat'

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. Telegram's crypto partner TON Foundation and Tencent's owner, Tencent, will be decentralized by means of two influential players: Telegram's crypto partner TON Foundation and WeChat's owner.

Telegram's development of this super app platform relies on a network of infrastructure partners from both the established tech world and the crypto world. Telegram's blockchain infrastructure is laid down by The Open Network Foundation, which operates as an independent organization.

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

Tencent is stepping up its overseas expansion efforts, despite slowing growth in China's tech sector. In recent months, the cloud computing industry has become a recurring occurrence at tech events, such as crypto conferences. Telegram's mini-app marketplace can take off like its Chinese counterpart, Tencent could potentially reap great benefits from the partnership.

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

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

It's not clear how many developers building for WeChat's China users are able to capture the diverse needs of Telegram's international community. The creators of mobile games may have the most transferrable qualities, given that many of them are already marketing in overseas markets. Due to Telegram's blocking in China, many developers will have to familiarize themselves with the app before they can develop meaningful applications for the platform.

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

However, a joint venture with Tencent could provide insights into enticing people to use a messenger for a variety of other purposes. The payment system was a crucial element of WeChat's early growth, as it instilled a habit among users to make daily transactions through the chat app.

While WeChat's in-house payment system is a cash cow for Tencent, Telegram has integration with 20 payment solutions and takes no commission with its Bot Payments API. Telegram has already launched a self-custodial wallet that is independently developed by The Open Platform using the TON blockchain, which is similar to traditional solutions like Google Pay and Apple Pay. Having a cryptocurrency wallet can bring a variety of transaction options to remote 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.