Coinciding with the rise of smartphones and the growth of social media platforms in the early part of the decade was the emergence of messaging apps.

They’re seen as the successors of those web-based instant messaging platforms that were popular in the 2000s. Essentially the same concept, except the net messengers of today are ensconced in millions upon millions of smartphones in the pockets of over 3 billion people.  

As messaging apps were becoming the norm for communicating online, the developers behind them began adding new features to take advantage of the large audience.

While some of these features were still rooted in its core service of communication, such as video calls and chatbot integration, others expanded the capability of their messaging apps and enabled users to do more than simply chat with their friends.

Perhaps the most famous example of this expansion is WeChat, a Chinese messaging app that now has a myriad of other features within the app. This includes a mobile wallet, an e-commerce function, a suite of mobile-based games, and even a dating platform. WeChat has over a billion active users each month, and it is now commonly known as a “super app” for its multiple features beyond messaging. 

Messaging apps and crypto

One of the more unexpected examples of messaging apps containing non-messaging features is their integration with cryptocurrency. They have provided highly compelling use cases for one another. 

Beginning with discussion groups devoted to a token to actual peer-to-peer transactions over a messaging app, it has become apparent there is and will be a more and more intimate association between the two platforms. These integration efforts have made messaging apps play a critical role in the development of various cryptocurrencies, and crypto token developers have used messaging platforms to grow their businesses.

Here are a few ways messaging apps have made cryptocurrency a core part of their services:

Dedicated discussion groups

Of course, messaging apps became a prime enabler of conversations about crypto.

When cryptocurrency became a popular topic, many enthusiasts and first-time buyers flocked to messaging apps to look for other individuals that shared their interest. As most messaging apps allowed users to create groups or channels dedicated to certain topics, several were made that facilitated cryptocurrency discussions and even some that were focused on a specific token.

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Privacy and security is the main driver. In fact, one of the most popular messaging apps, where crypto-focused discussions are prevalent is Telegram.

As the platform boasts of being more secure than other messaging apps, it has resonated with the cryptocurrency community, which puts a premium on the security provided by blockchain technology in their transactions.

It also enables a deeper level of privacy between potentially sensitive conversations, allowing discussions without the threat of external or even government interference.

Nowadays, it’s almost a standard for a new token developer to include a link to their dedicated Telegram channel on their website. The audience Telegram brings made it integral to launching a successful token sale. 

Creating their own tokens

Telegram’s popularity among crypto communities also stems from the platform’s developers being involved in the technology themselves.

It reportedly raised US$1.7 billion from a private sale of its Gram token, one of the largest coin offerings ever in terms of value. These funds are being used to create the Telegram Open Network, Telegram’s own blockchain where developers can build decentralised apps.

But Telegram isn’t the only messaging app getting into crypto. Canada-based Kik Messenger launched its Kin token in 2017, which can be used for transactions within the app.

The developers also use Kin as an incentive for Kik users for contributions made to the community as well as for watching in-app advertisements.

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Other messaging apps are taking it a step further. Apart from creating the LINK token, the Japanese messaging platform LINE also has its own cryptocurrency exchange called BitBox, which it launched last 2018. It is also reported to launch another cryptocurrency exchange based in its home country called BitMax. 

Wielding crypto within messaging apps

On the other end, some cryptocurrency developers have integrated with messaging apps to expand the scope of their tokens. With crypto enthusiasts already familiar with messaging platforms, developers have found ways to use this to allow both messaging app and crypto users to derive a higher utility in using the services.

One of these developers is Singapore-based blockchain hardware developer Pundi X. In its mobile crypto wallet XWallet, it recently added functionality where users can send Crypto Gifts to their friends on Telegram.

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Similar to WeChat’s digital hongbaos or red packets, XWallet users can give cryptocurrencies for their friends to use, with the link being sent via Telegram. The XWallet also enables Crypto Gifts to be sent over group chats, allowing the user to set how many times their Crypto Gift can be opened.  

With these types of partnerships and integrations popping up, it is clear that the growth of the cryptocurrency space will continue to be heavily influenced by messaging apps.

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Image Credit: Oleg Magni