With more than 2.5 billion users in over 100 countries, WhatsApp is a go-to app for keeping in touch.
And now, a brand new feature is being trialled to let you send and receive money through your WhatsApp chats.
The new feature is powered by Novi, Meta’s new digital wallet that was launched six weeks ago. It allows people to send and receive money without exiting their WhatsApp chats, in an instant and secure manner without any fees attached.
WhatsApp’s Will Cathcart and Novi’s Stephane Kasriel took to Twitter to make the announcement this week.
Kasriel tweeted: "Starting today, a limited number of people in the US will be able to send and receive money using Novi on @whatsapp, making sending money to family and friends as easy as sending a message."
He added that since Novi’s launch, they've worked to test features and improve those that are important to their users.
How to use the cryptocurrency feature on Whatsapp?
To access the new cryptocurrency feature on WhatsApp, people can click the paper clip icon on Android or the + icon on iOS. From here, you can select ‘Payment’ from the menu that appears.
You can make payments immediately with this feature and there are no limits on how often you can send and receive money. Novi will also not charge any fees to maintain a balance in your account or to transfer it to your bank account.
While this exciting new feature has been rolled out for US users of the app, it is not currently available in the UK just yet.
WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption will not be impacted by the new feature and will continue to remain by default for all personal conversations.
What other payment features does WhatsApp offer?
The cryptocurrency feature on WhatsApp may be focused on US users, but the platform already offers payment features using traditional currencies in countries like India and Brazil.
Novi put out a statement about the new feature saying: "Costs are high and waits are long when people want to send money to their families internationally.
"The current system is failing them, and there is no digital financial architecture to support the innovation we need."
The payments will be made through the app using Pax Dollars (USDP), which is a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar issued by financial services company, Paxos.
Meta, which supports WhatsApp, has valued USDP over other cryptos like Ether and Bitcoin because it's more stable
The USDP reserves are held 100% in cash and cash equivalents, which means that people can easily withdraw their money in their local currency when they choose, Novi added.
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