Meta-owned WhatsApp is testing crypto payments for a limited number of users in the US via the company’s Novi digital wallet. The feature is only being rolled out to a select group of users, according to The Verge, and the announcement was confirmed by WhatsApp head Will Cathcart.
The Novi digital wallet is Meta’s own digital wallet that began rolling out back in October this year in the US and Guatemala, though the WhatsApp crypto payment feature is limited to the US. It will allow users to send and receive money “instantly, securely, and with no fees” and uses the Paxos stablecoin, which Novi relies on.
In a tweet, Will Cathcart wrote, “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.” Meanwhile, Novi head Stephane Kasriel also posted about the news saying the new feature will allow users to easily send money to friends and family.
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
Just like WhatsApp payments works in India, users can tap on the paper clip icon on Android or the Plus symbol on iOS to choose payment from the menu. Payments made using the Novi wallet are instant and with no fees. Keep in mind that Novi does not use other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ether. It is only relying on Paxos’ stablecoins, whose value is tied to the value of the US dollar. So one USD is equal to One Paxos.
The new crypto payments will not impact end-to-end encryption on WhatsApp. The pilot is available in both English and Spanish, according to reports.
In 2019, Facebook had announced plans for its own cryptocurrency called Libra and had announced a Libra associated as well. Central banks and regulators across the world were not too enthused about the idea, though, and there were concerns over Facebook trying to gain more powers. Further, many of the initial partners for Libra soon backed off.
Libra was then renamed to Diem, and a Diem Association was announced for the same. The Novi wallet is supposed to be a replacement for the original Libra wallet, and this will support future Diem coins, once they start rolling out. The wallet currently supports Paxos dollars and allows for seamless and easy payments with no hidden costs.