WhatsApp has launched a cryptocurrency payment function for a small number of users in the United States. Its technology originated from the integration with Novi, a digital wallet owned by Facebook (now Meta). The pilot project allows users of encrypted messaging applications to use the Paxos Dollar (USPD) stable coin to send and receive funds “instantly, securely, and without fees”. The value of the USPD is pegged to the U.S. dollar.
WhatsApp’s payment method is similar to sending ordinary attachments in a conversation. The user clicks on the plus (+) icon and then selects payment in the menu that appears. Users who pay in this way will receive the USPD, which can be withdrawn to the equivalent dollar account in the bank account.
There is no upper limit on the number of times the Novi system can send and receive funds via WhatsApp. Regardless of the frequency of use, there are no fees for maintaining a balance in your Novi account or withdrawing it to a bank account. In addition, incorporating Novi into the chat platform has no effect on the end-to-end encryption of personal information.
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Starting today, some users in the United States can participate in this small pilot project. For more information about WhatsApp integration, please check the Novi website. The pilot is one of the results of the Meta cryptocurrency program, which has changed since its official announcement in 2019. The plan that year was to develop a cryptocurrency called Libra, which would be linked to a Facebook digital wallet called Calibra.
However, Libra later became Diem, and Calibra became Novi. Novi did not use Diem but cooperated with Coinbase to adopt the Paxos stablecoin, which is the custodial partner holding funds for the pilot work. WhatsApp already provides payment systems in India and Brazil, but these systems use traditional fiat currencies instead of encrypted currencies.