Meta is allowing some WhatsApp users to send and receive money with its nascent Novi crypto wallet

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Meta is allowing some WhatsApp users to send and receive money with its nascent Novi crypto wallet
A screenshot from Novi wallet's website shows how the service works. Novi Facebook Meta WhatsappNovi
  • Some WhatsApp users in the US are being allowed to use the Novi digital wallet to send and receive money.
  • The move expands a pilot program of Novi, which lets users send money internationally without fees.
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Some users of the Whatsapp messaging app in the US are now able to send and receive money using the Novi wallet, an expansion of a pilot program for the cryptocurrency payments service developed by Meta, the tech behemoth formerly known as Facebook.

A "limited number" of people on WhatsApp have access to moving money digitally with Novi, said Stephane Kasriel, Novi's CEO, in a posting on Twitter late Wednesday. WhatsApp is a unit of Meta. Kasriel touted sending money to family and friends with Novi "as easy as sending a message." A notice about the expanded US testing was also put on Novi's website.

A standalone app like WhatsApp, Novi is designed to transfer money internationally and instantly with no fees to send or receive money. Payments are made through Pax Dollars, or USDP, a stablecoin created in 2018 whose value is pegged to the US dollar and whose reserves are fully backed by cash and cash equivalents.

In October, then-Facebook launched a "small" pilot program for Novi in Guatemala and in some parts of the US and said the service could help reach a portion of the 1.7 billion adults worldwide who don't have access to a bank account. Novi is also working with crypto exchange Coinbase to provide custody services to ensure the safe storage of its customers' funds.

A group of Democratic senators in October called on Facebook's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to stop the launch of Novi, saying the company couldn't be trusted to ​​manage a payment system or digital currency.

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