Meta Pilots Instant Crypto Payments on WhatsApp

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Meta Pilots Instant Crypto Payments on WhatsApp
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Key Takeaways

Meta is piloting instant crypto payments on WhatsApp using its Novi digital assets wallet.
Starting today, a limited number of users in the U.S. will be able to make payments inside WhatsApp using Paxos Dollar stablecoins.
The payments will be free and instant, and won’t affect the messaging application’s end-to-end encryption.

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Starting today, a limited number of WhatApp users in the U.S. will be able to send and receive crypto within the messaging application using Meta’s Novi crypto wallet.

Meta Pilots Novi WhatsApp Launch 

Novi’s head of product, Stephane Kasriel, announced today that Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is piloting free and instant stablecoin payments inside WhatsApp.

Meta launched its digital assets wallet Novi in the U.S. and Guatemala six weeks ago. It is processing payments using Pax Dollars, a Paxos-issued stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar.

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According to Kasriel, the Novi wallet will let U.S. users make USDP payments inside WhatsApp and do so securely, instantly, and with no fees. “The payments will appear directly in people’s chat,” he said, adding that the payments will not affect WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption.

Meta had initially planned to launch its own digital currency called Libra, a stablecoin pegged to a basked of low-volatility assets instead of a single currency. It was later renamed to Diem, but Meta ultimately abandoned the plans to issue its own money after receiving unwanted attention from U.S. regulators. As a result, it partnered with stablecoin provider Paxos and launched the Novi digital wallet without the Diem currency.

Stablecoins too have been facing increased scrutiny from U.S. regulators this year. Several agencies, financial institutions, and politicians have voiced concerns regarding cryptocurrencies’ potential to undermine the U.S. dollar’s position as a global reserve currency. Last month, 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton warned that China and Russia could intervene in crypto to destabilize the dollar. 

On Wednesday, executives representing several high-profile crypto companies, including stablecoin issuers Circle and Paxos, attended a congressional hearing. The hearing focused on stablecoins, with the industry’s representatives arguing that cryptocurrencies, and specifically stablecoins, were a net benefit for the U.S. economy and the dollar.

Meta’s messaging application WhatsApp has two billion monthly active users. If the company were to roll out its instant crypto payments feature to an unlimited number of users globally, it could potentially be one of the most significant events for crypto adoption to date. 

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