WhatsApp has announced a payment service based on the Novi Wallet. In addition, users will send and receive USDP, a Paxos stablecoin.

WhatsApp launches cryptocurrency payments service.

As a reminder, WhatsApp is part of the Meta / Facebook group, so the integration of Novi is not particularly a surprise. Stephane Kasriel announced the news, the new CEO of Novi who replaces David Marcus, the latter having announced his departure a few days ago.

The Novi wallet was developed in parallel with Diem, the cryptocurrency initially carried by Facebook. But it is the wallet that seems to have taken centre stage: it was launched six weeks ago and is backed by the USDP: a dollar-backed Paxos stablecoin. He, too, has changed his name – he used to be PAX.

Payments can be made in USDP directly from conversations.

Therefore, this payment solution has just been integrated into WhatsApp for users in the United States. According to the project’s official website, they can now access the remittance directly from the conversation, just as if they were sending an email attachment.

There are also no shipping or receiving costs, and it is possible to transfer the amount to your bank account. According to the statement, payments are sent instantly from one participant to another.

Stephane Kasriel has confirmed that the feature will eventually be opened to other countries: 

“The Novi pilot is still in its very early stages, so we’ve decided to test this new entry point in one country, to begin with, and we’ll expand it once we get user feedback.”

Is Diem fading?

The change in the direction of the payment service is now apparent. However, cryptocurrency, until recently called Libra, continues to face limitations. Regulators show their teeth as soon as Diem reaches a stage in its development, despite a calculated distancing from Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg.

Before leaving the project, David Marcus had said the company intended to offer Diem in the long term and integrate it into Novi. So Paxos’s USDT choice had indeed been a way to build on an existing cryptocurrency, and therefore less likely to trigger an outcry.

But in reality, Diem seems to be off to a bad start, and one wonders if Meta will finally be able to distribute this cryptocurrency, which has continued to change since the announcement of its launch in 2019.