Meta (ex-Facebook) is launching a limited trial of its Novi digital wallet within its WhatsApp messaging platform, the social media giant said on December 8. A select number of users will now be able to send Pax Dollar stablecoins via WhatsApp. The move comes two months after Novi’s first pilot launched.
Meta’s Novi has revealed a pilot program where a select group has been testing the features and services of WhatsApp payment. The rollout of crypto payments on a messaging platform is a breakthrough, as millions of users avail WhatsApp’s encrypted messaging service.
Novi lead Stephane Kasriel announced the move on Twitter, revealing that some number of individuals will be able to transact with the USDP (formerly Paxos Standard) stablecoin. This follows a U.S.-Guatemala remittance pilot with USDP and the Novi wallet launched in October.
“When you add money to your Novi account, we convert it to USDP (Pax Dollar), a stable digital currency issued by Paxos Trust Company, a regulated financial institution. USDP is designed to have a stable value relative to the US dollar,” Novi said in a blog post announcing the WhatsApp integration. “So on Novi, 1 USDP is equal to 1 US dollar.”
Despite roadblocks in the launch of Meta’s digital currency (Diem), the giant had a breakthrough with the rollout of crypto payments on WhatsApp.
The new features would not interfere with the messaging platform’s privacy features. Kasriel believes that the messaging app will always remain “end-to-end encrypted.”
Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp, said, “People use WA to coordinate sending money to loved ones, and now Novi will help them do that securely, instantly, and with no fees.”
Open Markets Institute, a team of researchers, lawyers, economists, journalists, and advocates from Washington DC, expressed concerns about Meta’s project:
“There are several legal and regulatory implications for Facebook’s pilot that warrant particular attention by the agencies.”
The social media giant formerly known as Facebook has faced an immense regulatory backlash for its digital currency plans, rebranding and downscaling its original stablecoin vision from Libra to Diem. It also rebranded its digital wallet subsidiary from Calibra to Novi.
Recently, Novi chief David Marcus announced that he would be leaving Meta at the end of the year.