Although some US senators oppose the launch of Meta cryptocurrency products, the development of a digital wallet by social media giant Novi is in full swing.
Stefan Kasrel, head of Novi Cryptocurrency and FinTech at Meta, officially announced on Wednesday that Meta’s subsidiary WhatsApp has begun testing transactions through the Meta Novi wallet.
The new feature is available to “a limited number of people” in the United States, allowing users to send and receive money on WhatsApp “immediately and free of charge,” according to the CEO.
Kasriel noted that Meta has been able to test and explore “the most important for people” features and functions since the Novi beta was unveiled in mid-October. He added that using Novi does not affect the privacy of WhatsApp’s private messages and conversations, “which are always end-to-end encrypted.”
Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp at Meta, confirmed the news on Twitter, noting that some US users can now send and receive money using Novi on WhatsApp. “People use WA to coordinate sending money to their loved ones, and now Novi wants to help them do it safely, immediately and without fees,” he wrote.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, officially launched its digital currency loss program in collaboration with the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and stablecoin Paxos in October. The beta was originally launched in the US and Guatemala using the Pax Dollar (USDP), a dollar-denominated stable coin issued by the trust company Paxos.
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The US non-profit organization Open Markets Institute then sent a letter to several regulators, including the US Department of Justice, arguing that Meta could be “involved in illegal deposit activities without a bank charter”. The organization specifically notes that USDP is one of the less stable currencies “with much less liquidity and use” than the best stable currencies such as Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC).
“There are several legal and regulatory implications of the Facebook beta that require special attention from agencies,” the Open Market Institute said in a letter.