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WhatsApp now allows payments using crypto for select users…well sort of

The cryptocurrency wallet also said that it has embedded controls that enable 24/7 monitoring to detect and flag “suspicious” activity.

A limited number of citizens of the United States of America (USA) will be able to send and receive money on WhatsApp using the cryptocurrency wallet called Novi, Stephan Kasriel, the VP of Product at Novi announced. Novi is a cryptocurrency wallet developed by Meta, formerly Facebook.

When someone adds money to their Novi account through WhatsApp, it will be converted to USDP (Pax Dollar), which is a stable digital currency issued by Paxos Trust Company, a regulated financial institution in the USA. “USDP is designed to have a stable value relative to the US dollar. So on Novi, 1 USDP is equal to 1 US dollar,” Novi’s website said.

This is an important development considering India is one of WhatsApp’s largest markets. Its timing is also interesting since a bill that will possibly regulate the usage of cryptocurrency and also introduce India’s central bank-backed digital currency is likely to be scheduled in the country’s Parliament during the ongoing Winter Session.

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Using Novi doesn’t change the privacy of WhatsApp personal messages: Kasriel

Novi encrypts your sensitive financial information and the documents you upload, like your photo ID. Using Novi does not change the privacy of your WhatsApp personal messages and calls, which are always end-to-end encrypted — Novi in its website

The cryptocurrency wallet also said that it has embedded controls that enable 24/7 monitoring to detect and flag “suspicious” activity. “If we determine a transaction is unauthorized, we will provide a full refund back to your Novi balance,” Novi said on its website said.

This development comes two months after Meta-backed Novi started a small pilot of its digital wallet app in Guatemala and the USA. “For the pilot, we are enabling people to send and receive money using USDP (Pax Dollar) through a partnership with Paxos and Coinbase,” the company had said then.

Novi and its relation to Libra and Diem

Libra gets shelved: Facebook, in 2019, brought various startups and financial services giants together to create a global digital currency called Libra and a wallet called Calibra for it. However, after facing massive opposition from regulators around the world many companies decided to withdraw forcing the association to go through a complete makeover.

Post makeover: In December 2020, The Libra Association, Facebook Inc’s digital coin project, announced that will now be called the “Diem Association” as part of the social media giant’s attempt to rebrand and restructure.

Calibra is now Novi: Meta in December also announced that it has changed its name of the Calibra wallet to Novi.

Diem’s stablecoin project: In 2021 it was reported that Diem was launching a pilot with a single stablecoin pegged to the US dollar later this year, CNBC reported.

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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