WhatsApp has announced the launch of a crypto pilot scheme that will allow customers in the U.S. to send and receive crypto payments within messaging groups.
Following the announcement, crypto payments on Whatsapp will be supported by Novi – Meta’s (formerly Facebook) digital wallet. All payments will be carried out using Pax Dollars – a stable coin priced close to the U.S. dollar. The announcement was made by Stephane Kasriel from Novi and confirmed by WhatsApp chief Will Cathcart.
New in the US: use your @Novi digital wallet to send and receive money right within a @WhatsApp chat. People use WA to coordinate sending money to loved ones, and now Novi will help them do that securely, instantly and with no fees. https://t.co/4wG4t8zwKh
— Will Cathcart (@wcathcart) December 8, 2021
The announcement comes soon after Meta’s Leader in the Diem project, David Marcus said that he is parting ways from the company at the end of 2021.
More about WhatsApp’s crypto payments feature
Will Cathcart confirmed the launch of new crypto payments features on Twitter. He said that a lot of customers use WhatsApp to send and receive payments from their friends and family. Novi will allow them to make payments securely without any charges.
Sending payments will work similarly to sending attachments in WhatsApp. While Android users can access the feature through the paperclip icon, iOS will have to use the + icon.
According to Novi, there are no hidden charges involved while sending and receiving money. Besides, there is no limit to the number of payments that can be sent. All payments will be transferred instantly.
Novi pilot and Meta’s crypto plans
Novi pilot was initially available to customers in Guatemala and the U.S. However, users in Guatemala will not have access to WhatsApp’s new payment functionality.
Payments will not have any impact on WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption, which is already in place for personal conversations. The WhatsApp pilot is available in Spanish and English.
The roots of the current pilot project run deep in Meta’s cryptocurrency plans that were announced in 2019. Around that time when Meta (then Facebook) was a member of the Libra Association, it was roping in efforts to launch a cryptocurrency named Libra. This currency would seamlessly integrate with Calibra, a digital wallet developed by Facebook.
The entire system was developed to provide a convenient mode of payment around the world with lower fees than conventional methods.
While this pilot project will primarily focus on cryptocurrency and Novi in the U.S., WhatsApp is offering payments using traditional currencies in every other part of the world.
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