WhatsApp launches cryptocurrency payments
Meta has introduced a new trial program that enables users to give and receive money through WhatsApp using cryptocurrency. The functionality is enabled by Novi, a cryptocurrency-based digital wallet.
It will be offered to a ‘limited number of people in the United States,’ according to Novi CEO Stephane Kasriel in a series of tweets. There, this functionality is not available in India at the time of writing this article.
According to Novi’s website, the cryptocurrency-based payment option works similarly to existing payment methods on WhatsApp. Users of WhatsApp may transfer and receive money using their existing Novi wallets or by creating new accounts.
To send money using Novi wallet, WhatsApp users must first open the chat window of the person to whom they like to send money and then pick the Payment option from the menu that appears after the paperclip or + icon on Android or iOS. WhatsApp users will be prompted to enter into their existing Novi accounts or establish a new one on the following page, after which they will be able to easily transfer money to their contacts.
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Novi’s origins date all the way back to Facebook’s cryptocurrency intentions, which were unveiled in 2019. At the time, Facebook (now Meta) intended to launch its own cryptocurrency, dubbed Libra.
Libra, according to the company’s intentions at the time, would be secured by low-volatility assets rather than a specific currency, making it universally accepted and significantly easier to use than existing ways due to reduced fees. Libra would also be housed in a digital wallet named Calibra, according to the ideas at the time.
Much has changed in the intervening years. Libra has been renamed Diem, while Calibra has been renamed Novi. Novi operates on the Pax Dollar (USDP) stablecoin, which is backed by the US dollar. One USDP is equivalent to one US dollar on Novi. As a result, WhatsApp users will not be purchasing bitcoin while sending or receiving money using Novi. Rather than that, the new functionality will utilise stablecoins to accomplish the transaction.
Having stated that, trading on Novi via WhatsApp is currently restricted in functionality. Kasriel, though, states that the business will extend the service based on customer input.