WhatsApp Begins Cryptocurrency Payments Trial in the US
WhatsApp has introduced a new trial program that enables a “small section” of individuals in the United States to transfer money using Bitcoin while exchanging messages. Novi, Meta’s digital wallet, which debuted as a prototype six weeks ago, powers the functionality, which accepts payments in Pax Dollars (USDP), a stablecoin tied to the US dollar produced by Paxos.
The announcement was made by Novi’s new CEO Stephane Kasriel and WhatsApp’s Will Cathcart. Sending a payment, as per Novi’s website, works similarly to transferring any other file on WhatsApp. The function is accessed by tapping the paper clip icon on Android or the Plus icon on iOS and then selecting “Payment” from the resulting menu.
According to Novi’s website, there are no costs associated with transferring money, no limitations on the frequency with which payments may be transferred, and no expenses associated with maintaining a balance in your Novi account or withdrawing it to your bank account. Payments are processed immediately.
Although the Novi trial was initially accessible in the United States and Guatemala, WABetaInfo states that Guatemalan users would be unable to utilize the new WhatsApp payments capabilities. Rather than that, customers will be required to continue utilising the standalone Novi app.
Payments have no effect on the end-to-end encryption that is enabled by design for all private chats on WhatsApp. The pilot version of WhatsApp Novi is accessible in both English and Spanish. The latest pilot builds on the much-hyped cryptocurrency ambitions unveiled by Facebook (now Meta) in 2019. During the same period, Facebook (as a member of the Libra Association) intended to create
and launch the Libra cryptocurrency, which would be tied to a basket of low-volatility assets rather than a single currency.
This would be integrated with a digital wallet created by Facebook called Calibra. The whole system was created to provide a low-cost means of sending money throughout the globe. Since that day, these designs have evolved significantly.
Libra has rebranded as Diem, the Libra Association has rebranded as the Diem Association, and Calibra has rebranded as Novi. Yet most significantly, Novi launched without the Diem cryptocurrency.
Pax Dollars, on the other hand, are the creation of a different firm named Paxos, and Meta is using cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase as its custodial associate.
When Meta’s then-head of Novi, David Marcus, revealed the start of the Novi pilot in October, he said that the firm remains dedicated to Diem. “Once Diem achieves regulatory permission, we want to launch Novi with Diem,” Marcus tweeted. David Marcus later announced his departure from the firm at the conclusion of the year. He described Novi’s pilot as “the nicest goodbye present from the best crew ever!” on WhatsApp.
While WhatsApp’s payment arrangements in the United States concentrate upon Novi and cryptocurrencies, it currently accepts payments in standard fiat currencies everywhere in the globe. The function was widely implemented in India last year and has now expanded to Brazil.