WhatsApp launches a cryptocurrency payments test with Novi


WhatsApp is trialing a cryptocurrency feature powered by Novi, Meta’s digital wallet that launched as a pilot a couple of months ago.

The chat app is kicking things off with a test that lets a "limited number" of people in the US send and receive payments using Pax Dollars (USDP), a US dollar-backed stablecoin issued by Paxos. According to Novi’s website, to send a payment with WhatsApp, you need to first tap the paper clip icon on Android or the + icon on iOS, and then select "Payment" from the menu options.

There are no fees or limits for sending or receiving cryptocurrency, and payments are transferred instantly.

Meta's cryptocurrency plans have shifted a lot in recent years. Originally, it planned to develop a cryptocurrency, called Libra, which would be integrated with a Facebook-developed digital wallet called Calibra. Libra later became Diem, and Calibra became Novi, which launched without Diem. Now, Meta is using Paxos' Pax Dollars and relying on the Coinbase exchange as a custody partner.

Apparently, Meta is still committed to Diem, or at least the company's former Novi head claimed as much in October. David Marcus tweeted: "We intend to launch Novi with Diem once it receives regulatory approval". But Marcus also announced he is leaving Novi at the end of the year.

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