While not everyone agrees yet on Meta launching its own digital currency products, the development of the social media giant’s digital wallet continues steadily.
Transaction testing has begun
WhatsApp, which is a subsidiary of Meta, has now started rolling out several tests to transact through Meta’s Novi wallet. This feature is initially being tested on a small scale, so only a limited number of people within the United States (US) can now use it. Should this first test be successful, it will be expanded before it is fully rolled out.
That the tests have started has also been confirmed by Stephane Kasriel, the head of Meta’s cryptocurrency and fintech department. Stephane says on Twitter the following:
There’s a new way to try the @Novic digital wallet. Starting today, a limited number of people in the US 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. 💸💬 pic.twitter.com/dGz3lejri7
— Stephane Kasriel (@skasriel) December 8, 2021
New feature and Facebook
The new feature will reportedly not affect the privacy of personal messages and calls within WhatsApp. These remain end-to-end encrypted at all times. This simply means that only those for whom the messages are intended and the person who sent them can view them. Users can send and receive money free of charge via the new feature.
Meta, previously known as Facebook, had already rolled out a digital currency pilot in October in partnership with Coinbase and Paxos. This pilot was also rolled out in the US and in Guatemala at the time, using the Pax Dollar (USDP). At the time, however, it remained with the pilot, because various parties put a stop to it at the time.
For example, the Open Markets Institute, a US non-profit organization, believed that Facebook was at the time engaged in a potentially “illegal trade of receiving deposits without a bank charter.” In addition, the nonprofit pointed out that USDP is a much smaller stablecoin than, say, Tether (USDT) or USD Coin (USDC). This in turn means that there is much less liquidity, which could potentially cause problems. Open Markets Institute said the following:
“There are several legal and regulatory implications for Facebook’s pilot that deserve special attention from the agencies.”