Why Create an App that Combines Chats and Payments?


Sidekick makes life easier by combining the best of chats, payments, and marketplace.

The Natural Evolution of Chat Apps and Payments

If history teaches us anything, it is that humans are constantly trying to solve problems. In the good times and the bad, efforts are made towards designing new things. One such problem that needed solving was long-distance communication between humans.

As a result, we found ways to vastly improve the tools at our disposal. Communication shifted from snail mail, to calls, to emails. Highspeed internet, wireless, and mobile technologies combined together allowed for the creation of instant messaging and, ultimately, chat apps.

Chat Apps

With the same ease as having a conversation, people could now send messages anywhere; as quickly as fingers could type! Software like AOL, Yahoo!, QQ, and MSN paved the way. This again changed with the invention of mobile phones and mobile messaging apps.

iChat, Skype, MySpace, Facebook, and WhatsApp all held positions as global leaders of the instant messaging space. With the demand for messaging apps growing, these giants felt it unnecessary to explore any further functions. However, the problem-solving nature of humans would quickly seek to find the next natural evolution to these apps.

Chat Apps with Payments

Competition grew fierce and the next big leap didn’t occur until 2011, when Tencent launched their newest app, WeChat. What makes this particularly interesting is that Tencent already had its own chat app. Not only did they have their own app, it was doing very well, particularly in China. Why then, would they want to release a new chat app?

WeChat was created because Tencent wanted to try adding a new feature to chat apps. They believed the next step for chat apps was integrating monetary payments. Peer-to-peer transactions on a closed network. This single addition changed the way a billion people in China handle their money today.

The Change that Changed Everything: An In-App Wallet

This seemingly insignificant change to an app revolutionized the way people handle money! The executives at Tencent proceeded to make agreements with a handful of government officials and banks in China.

They wanted to enable users to store money in a wallet linked to their account on the app. In turn, those users could also transfer deposited funds to other users, or buy goods and services from stores.

The only problem was that in order to make this possible, the user would have to input their private bank details into a 3rd-party application. Though it sounds harmless now, given the size of WeChat today, in the early 2010’s this was a real issue.

How do you convince new users to trust the app enough to share their bank details with it?

The idea eventually caught on, leading WeChat to dominate the Chinese market. They now have over a billion monthly active users and earn tens of billions of USD each year. The moral of the story is: they saw the potential of integrating mobile payments with an already established technology. Once they realized instant messaging was “as good as it was going to get,” it was time for the next step.

The Limitations of this Change

As amazing as WeChat’s story is, its popularity is limited to China. Creating and maintaining an infrastructure that links a mobile app to a bank card isn’t easy. A crucial step in this is that when handling cash, there must be clear records of deposits and withdrawals.

For security, the app must maintain control. It is not as easy to maintain this control when crossing into another jurisdiction. For this reason, it has taken a very long time for payments apps like WeChat and Alipay to grow internationally.

A Multi-Currency Crypto Wallet

A solution to this “cross-border inconvenience” would be to add yet another function to the chat app. The next step beyond chat and payments would be to integrate a wallet that also supports digital currencies, or cryptocurrencies.

As cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that live entirely on the web, no country owns them. Therefore, adopters can trade their local currency for these digital currencies and trade with other users around the globe. Rather than worry about exchanging one local currency for another, customers and merchants can simply trade using crypto.

This solution is already underway, apps like Sidekick are already integrating crypto payments.

Sidekick: “A Triple Threat”

Sidekick built a platform that allows its users to deposit and withdraw cryptocurrencies into a wallet unique to their account. Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough to allow users to transfer digital currencies on the platform. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be much different from wallet-to-wallet transfers.

Rather, Sidekick seeks to always be evolving with the demand of its users. As such, it is very important to create a space where storing and transferring these coins is easy. However, it is just as important to help users in using their coins. For this reason, Sidekick also offers their own marketplace. Here users can earn and spend their digital currencies with others on the platform.

As the world moves towards decentralization, it’s only natural that every person should have the opportunity to create and grow something of their own. This will enable a new wave of entrepreneurs to open their own online shop and begin to grow their business globally.

Sidekick is currently wrapping up the development of its in-house beta. Their official launch is scheduled for later this year (2020).

Moving Forward

With more and more robust apps, users around the world will benefit from these new and diverse ecosystems. Blockchain and its subsequent creations, digital currencies, will only grow to have more use cases. As more users become educated in this new technology, fear will quickly be replaced by curiosity. And with this curiosity we will continue to see humans do what they do best, solving problems.

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