Sending crypto via WhatsApp? Meta testing Novi Wallet

WhatsApp enabled sending cryptocurrencies via chat in the United States with Novi for private testing.

Whatsapp logo
Sending crypto via WhatsApp? (Photo by Dima Solomin on Unsplash)

In Short

  • Two months after the launch of Novi, Meta's USDP wallet, WhatsApp payments are enabled.

  • The service will work only for some users in the United States as a pilot test at first.

  • Novi's pilot plan will use Pax Dollar through partnerships with Paxos and Coinbase.

Starting December 9, it was possible to receive and send money via WhatsApp using a cryptocurrency: the pax dollar stablecoin (USDP), which is worth the same as the U.S. dollar (USD). This service was enabled on a pilot basis only in the United States and worked through the wallet that Meta created and launched almost two months ago, Novi.


In the announcement, Novi communicated that the tool is only available to a limited number of people in the United States for testing purposes. Meta plans to expand the wallet globally and add more cryptocurrencies in the future.


At the moment, only the USDP stablecoin is available. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, this is a stablecoin that maintains a 1 to 1 peg with the dollar. Its objective is to keep the price at par with the dollar. Unlike bitcoin, it does not have volatility peaks, which increases its usability.

Novi wallet
You can only send money, for now, via WhatsApp in the United States using USDP. (Source: Twitter)

Meta seeks to facilitate international money transactions

Meta, the company that owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, among other businesses, created the Novi cryptocurrency wallet to ease money transactions. The wallet is mainly intended for those outside the banking system or who need to transfer abroad.


"Worldwide, around 1.7 billion people do not have access to bank accounts. Exclusion from the global financial system has actual effects on people's lives, and the neglected are typically the ones who pay the most. These are the challenges we're hoping to solve with Novi, a digital wallet that helps people send and receive money abroad instantly, securely, without fees." Novi, The Meta's cryptocurrency wallet

David Marcus, one of the wallet's heads, said that linking Novi with WhatsApp is "another small step in the right direction." Marcus suggests that they could later enable its support for sending and receiving cryptocurrency money in other Meta apps, such as Instagram or Facebook's Messenger.



Facebook launched Novi in Guatemala and the U.S.

In a series of tweets, David Marcus, a member of the project's board of directors, stated that the Novi wallet would utilize the stable currency Pax Dollar (USDP) for the trial plan, thanks to collaborations with the firm Paxos and the crypto exchange Coinbase. So users will be able to "send and receive money instantly, securely, and at no cost."


The executive commented on why Novi will operate with USDP describing it as a "well-designed development that worked successfully for three years and has important regulatory and consumer protection attributes."


Novi's official website reports that sending money will be as simple as sending a message. "When top up money to your Novi account, we convert it to USDP. In Novi, 1 USDP is equal to $1 ."




Marcus added that the pilot scheme targets 56% of Guatemala's population who do not have financial services, while almost 100% have a cell phone. "The money sent by friends and family abroad contributes more than 14% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 90% of these remittances come from the United States," he pointed out.



Are Diem and Novi being tested separately?

The Novi project is linked to the Diem stablecoin, both Facebook initiatives. However, in May this year, the project scaled back its global ambitions to focus on the U.S. market. The organization managing the development of the crypto asset withdrew the application it had filed to operate as a payment service with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) to establish itself in the United States.


In any case, Marcus reaffirmed the social networking group's ambition for its payments service by noting that Novi and Diem are needed to "change the way people pay."


I want to clarify that our support for Diem has not changed and that we intend to launch Novi with Diem once it receives regulatory approval and goes live. We care about interoperability, and we want to get it right. David Marcus, co-creator and board member of Diem

Facebook's payments spokesperson said the team intends to scale Novi and serve a small customer base to thoroughly test the wallet before expanding its use to more people. Cardano, another blockchain network, is implementing payment methods as well. ADA Pay is Cardano's payment gateway that allows merchants to accept ADA payments.


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