The world’s most popular messaging app has started a pilot program that lets users transfer money with cryptocurrency, according to company officials. The service is a partnership between Meta, the rebranded parent company of WhatsApp and Facebook, and Novi, a digital wallet that Meta launched last year in Guatemala and the US.
The feature is being tested for a limited number of users in the United States, according to Novi head Stephane Kasriel. It enables “instant, secure and with no fees” cryptocurrency payments using the Paxos Dollar (USPD) stablecoin, which has a value pegged to the US dollar. The way the payments work in WhatsApp is similar to sending regular attachments in a conversation, with recipients then receiving USDP.
Cryptocurrency transfers through Novi are instant and cost nothing to make, with the sender transferring the same amount of money that the recipient receives in their wallet, which can later be transferred to a bank account. The only downside is that to use this new crypto-to-crypto payment method, users will need to sign up for a Novi account and provide identification information like photo ID.
Unlike some other platforms that accept cryptocurrencies, Novi says all financial data is encrypted, so it’s difficult for hackers to access it. This makes it easier to verify the identity of users and prevent them from being banned from the platform if they use fraudulent methods.
The Novi wallet will also keep the security of a transaction private, so that it cannot be tracked by third parties. This is an important step, considering that Facebook already tracks chats and calls.
What’s more, the company has a custody partner, Coinbase, for its USDP stablecoin, so you’ll have a lot of confidence in the platform’s ability to ensure safe payments.
How Novi works
To use the new Novi payment service, users must create a wallet in the app and link it with their Facebook or Instagram account. Afterward, they can connect to the wallet and use it for sending and receiving cryptocurrency from anyone else with the Novi wallet.
Once they’ve linked their account, users will be able to select a currency and begin making a payment. In addition, they’ll receive a notification in their WhatsApp chats with the recipients’ information and a link to the transaction.
While the service is currently only available in the US and Guatemala, it’s an exciting development that may eventually spread to other countries. Whether it will succeed or not is still unclear, but it is certainly a good start to the company’s plan to make cryptocurrency a mainstream part of society.
The company aims to help the 1.7 billion adults around the world who are currently shut out of global financial systems and have no access to a bank account. Being shut out of the system has real consequences for people’s lives, with many paying higher fees and experiencing longer wait times than those who do have access to them.