It has been reported that Stephane Kasriel, the head of Meta’s cryptocurrency and fintech unit Novi, officially said that the new feature is available for a “limited number of people” in the US, allowing users to send and receive money on WhatsApp “instantly and with no fees.”
However, Kasriel noted that Meta has been able to test and learn which features and functionalities are “most important to people” since it introduced the Novi pilot in mid-October.
He added that using Novi doesn’t affect the privacy of WhatsApp personal messages and calls, “which are always end-to-end encrypted.”
Likewise, Will Cathcart, the head of WhatsApp at Meta, confirmed the news by noting some US users can now send and receive money with Novi on WhatsApp.
“People use WA to coordinate sending money to loved ones, and now Novi will help them do that securely, instantly and with no fees.”
Formerly known as Facebook, Meta officially launched a digital currency pilot in collaboration with major crypto exchange Coinbase and stablecoin firm Paxos in October. The pilot initially rolled out in the US and Guatemala, using Pax Dollar (USDP), a dollar-pegged stablecoin issued by blockchain trust company Paxos.
The report said that a US nonprofit organization, the Open Markets Institute, subsequently sent a letter to multiple regulators, including the US Department of Justice, arguing that Meta may be “in the illegal business of receiving deposits without a bank charter.”
The organization specifically pointed out that USDP is one of the smaller stablecoins “with far less liquidity and usage” than the top stablecoins like Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC).
Thus, the Open Markets Institute letter stated:
“There are several legal and regulatory implications for Facebook’s pilot that warrant particular attention by the agencies.”