Meta’s cryptocurrency wallet, Novi, will now allow users to send and receive money through WhatsApp.
The pilot program is open to a limited number of people in the US, Stephane Kasriel, head of Meta’s cryptocurrency and fintech unit, Novi tweeted.
Kasriel officially announced on Wednesday that Meta’s messenger subsidiary, WhatsApp, has started testing transactions through the wallet.
According to the executive, 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.”
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.”
Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp at Meta, confirmed the news on Twitter, 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,” he wrote.
Meta Platforms, formerly Facebook, has been working on the wallet app for several months, while scaling back its global plans for rolling out a digital currency called Diem on regulatory concerns.
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).
“There are several legal and regulatory implications for Facebook’s pilot that warrant particular attention by the agencies,” the Open Markets Institute letter stated.