WhatsApp has launched a new cryptocurrency-based pilot that will allow a select number of people in America to send and receive crypto funds to each other. The program is being powered by Novi, the new Facebook (or Meta) cryptocurrency wallet that has gone through a thousand name changes and struggled to get off the ground since being announced in the summer of 2019.
The Novi Wallet Is Finally Launching Itself
Novi was officially launched as a pilot roughly six weeks ago. All payments made occurred through Pax Dollars (USDP), a stable currency that’s tied to the U.S. dollar through B2B crypto trading platform Paxos. The headline garnered more attention when it was announced that Stephane Kasriel would be taking over for David Marcus in the role of blockchain executive at Meta.
Typically, WhatsApp has no problems sending attachments, and according to a statement on the Novi website, sending crypto will operate very much in the same way. One needs to click the paper clip icon on their Android phone or the plus icon on their iOS phone. From there, they need to select “payment” from the menu.
Novi says that there are no fees when sending or receiving money, and there are also no limits on how often payments are sent. Lastly, those keeping cryptocurrency stored in their Novi willets will not have to pay fees for custody services. There are also no fees if one wishes to transfer whatever money they have into their bank accounts, and payments usually occur within a matter of minutes.
Stephane Kasriel announced the news on Twitter through the following statement:
There’s a new way to try the Novi digital wallet. Starting today, a limited number of people in the U.S. 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.
The development of the Novi wallet and Facebook’s crypto program goes back a long way. It was first announced two and a half years ago. The company stated that it was looking to unveil what was known as the Calibra wallet and its corresponding cryptocurrency Libra. These items could be used to make payments to anyone in the world at any time.
Not Everyone Trusts Facebook Anymore
However, the announcement came just over a year following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and thus the program has failed to garner any serious attention. Facebook was embroiled in the scandal after CEO Mark Zuckerberg was made to testify before a congressional committee in April of 2018 after it was discovered that the company had been selling users’ private data for years without their knowledge to third parties for advertising purposes.
As a result, trust in Facebook came to a standstill, and the idea that the company was now going to be able to access one’s financial information was quite scary to many users.