WhatsApp today launched a new feature that allows people to send and receive money through cryptocurrency. It is currently available for a limited set of customers based in the United States. This is possible through a partnership with Novi Digital Wallet, a subsidiary of Meta (previously Facebook).
Stephane Kasriel (Head of Novi), tweeted about this earlier:
There's a new way to try the @Novi digital wallet. Starting today, a limited number of people in the US will be able to send and receive money using Novi on @WhatsApp, making sending money to family and friends as easy as sending a message. 💸💬 pic.twitter.com/dGz3lejri7
— Stephane Kasriel (@skasriel) December 8, 2021
The payments are said to be free from any additional charges and will be shown directly in the chat. As per Novi’s website, when a user adds money to their digital wallet, it gets converted to a stable digital currency named USDP (Pax Dollar), issued by a regulated financial institution Paxos Trust Company. One USDP is equal to one US dollar.
The amount received can be either stored in the wallet or transferred to a bank account. Stephane Kasriel said that the payments are end-to-end encrypted and don’t affect the privacy of users. The head of Novi added that payments are instant and secure and without any charges.
The new pilot is in-line with the plans of Meta (previously Facebook) for cryptocurrency announced in 2019. At that time, Facebook’s plan was to develop a cryptocurrency called Libra that would integrate with its wallet called Calibra. This was aimed to be a platform for international transactions with low fees and charges.
Novi pilot was introduced six weeks ago and was initially planned for access in the USA and Guatemala. But, the new WhatsApp payments feature can’t be used by people in Guatemala. They can continue to execute transactions through the Novi app.