WeChat has pioneered the mini app model in China, powering millions of apps for various functions such as payments, food delivery, e-commerce, and ride-hailing. With a decentralized payments network, Telegram’s mini app ecosystem has the potential to reach a broader spectrum of users worldwide. While TON’s partnership with Tencent Cloud is not exclusive, it is expected to create synergies, as developers from WeChat may begin building on TON due to the similarities between the mini app models. However, developers will need to familiarize themselves with Telegram and understand blockchain programming languages to create meaningful applications for the platform. Overall, the partnership with Tencent could provide insights into enticing users to utilize a messenger for multiple purposes, similar to how WeChat integrated payment functionality and established a habit of daily transactions.
Telegram currently offers integration with 20 payment solutions and takes no commission through its Bot Payments API. It also has a self-custodial crypto wallet developed by The Open Platform (TOP) using the TON blockchain. Having a crypto wallet can bring various transaction scenarios to regions where centralized online payments are not available. Observing the lessons learned from WeChat, it will be intriguing to see how Telegram and TON implement a decentralized mini app platform and its potential impact.