Here’s all you need to know about Meta’s new Crypto endeavor!

By Pranab Kabiraj

Novi, Facebook’s digital wallet is testing out its payment integration with WhatsApp messenger with limited users in the USA.

The Head of Novi Wallet, Stephane Kasriel tweeted through his handle on Dec. 9 that the fintech arm of Social media giant Facebook is all set to provide its payment services to the WhatsApp users.

Currently, the service is available to a limited set of people in the USA to transfer money through Meta’s messaging App and according to the official website of Novi, the pilot version of the digital wallet app is available in Guatemala and the U.S. to download from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The aim of the dry run is to confirm the operational readiness and to check whether the customer care response, compliance program, and core feature functions are up to the mark as mentioned by the previous Head of Novi, David Marcus.

Stephane Kasriel introducing Novi Wallet integration with WhatsApp for transaction purpose via Twitter.

With the consecutive tweets, Kasriel cleared the point that the end-to-end encryption and security features of WhatsApp is not going to get compromised due to the wallet integration. And with the pilot run, the Team is figuring out different features and serviceability of the product which are important to the users, so that they can scale it for the global mass pretty soon.

Kasriel introducing Novi wallet service in a Twitter thread.

Novi is the latest attempt of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, a company which is trying hard to rebrand itself into the next-gen Metaverse platform, first changing its parent company’s name to Meta and now integrating a blockchain based payment system for the people, even after multiple setbacks (Libra, Diem) due to compliance issues with the U.S. regulators.

Through Novi, Meta aims to bring financial inclusion for everyone and make international payments instant, secure and free, just like sending text messages.

Novi aims to make cross-border transactions as easy as sending texts over WhatsApp.

In order to succeed in its mission, Novi has partnered with Paxos Trust Company and Coinbase to run the blockchain operation in the background.

When the money is added in the Novi wallet, it is right away converted into a stable coin USDP (Pax Dollar) whose value is pegged to the U.S. Dollar and can be easily exchanged for cash in the local currency with the help of Digital currency exchange Coinbase. Built upon the Ethereum blockchain as an ERC-20 token, USDP is issued by the Paxos Trust Company, and it is also approved and regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services, Hence, one can say that Novi has left no stones unturned to prove that the service can work in a trusted and secure environment, with USD-backed asset along with the benefits of blockchain technology and within the oversight of the financial regulators.

Stable coin USDP (PAX Dollar) pegged with USD

In India, WhatsApp has already integrated and running its transaction service since 2018 with the help of UPI free of cost for the users . However, due to a set of regulations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), the UPI, powered by National Payments Corporation of India, currently does not provide the facility of cross-border transactions exclusively neither deal with cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, the UPI is a centralized service and completely under the control of Indian Banking authorities. Which means Novi Wallet might face inconvenience while convincing the Domestic Payment watchdogs for integrating its services for the local WhatsApp users.

Putting aside the failures and regulations, the ambitious project by Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta holds a lot of potential to disrupt the existing payments and remittance market. Betting on the government authorized stable coin USDP (Pax Dollar) can be a wise move for the Novi Wallet for the mass adoption of crypto payments. If the promise of secure, fast and free transactions is held by the company, then definitely a lot of people are going to be benefitted from the service.

It is just a matter of time, the results of the pilot run will be out soon. Probably in a couple of years we will be sending money to friends just like sending texts or pics in a virtual world created by Meta.

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