Despite opposition from some US legislators to Meta’s debut of digital currency products, the development of the social network giant’s digital wallet, Novi, continues apace.
On Wednesday, Stephane Kasriel, the president of Meta’s cryptocurrency and fintech company Novi, said that Meta’s messaging subsidiary, WhatsApp, has begun testing transactions using Meta’s Novi wallet.
The new function, according to the executive, is available to a “limited number of people” in the United States. And allows users to send and receive money on WhatsApp “instantly and without costs”.
Since launching the Novi pilot in mid-October, Kasriel says Meta has been able to test and understand which features and capabilities are “most significant to consumers”. Novi, he stressed, has no effect on the privacy of WhatsApp personal messages and calls, which are “always end-to-end encrypted”.
Moreover, Will Cathcart, Meta’s head of WhatsApp, verified the news on Twitter, stating that select US customers can now send and receive money using Novi on WhatsApp. “People use WA to arrange sending money to loved ones,” he added. “And now Novi will enable them to do so securely, instantly, and without fees”.
Meta announced the start of a digital currency trial with Coinbase in October
In October, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, announced the start of a digital currency trial. With major crypto exchange Coinbase and stablecoin developer Paxos. Additionally, Pax Dollar (USDP), a dollar-pegged stablecoin created by blockchain trust business Paxos, was used in the pilot. Which was first launched in the United States and Guatemala.
On the other hand, the Open Markets Institute, a non-profit based in the United States, wrote to a number of regulators. Including the Department of Justice. Claiming that Meta may be “in the illegal business of taking deposits without a bank licence”. USDP is one among the minor stablecoins, according to the organisation. With “much less liquidity and usage” than the leading stablecoins like Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC).
The Open Markets Institute statement noted, “There are significant legal and regulatory concerns for Facebook’s pilot. That merit specific attention by the agencies”.