10 December 2021
Novi, the remittance and payments initiative of Meta (formerly Facebook), has launched a Whatsapp pilot test for customers in the U.S. This means that a small number of Whatsapp users will be able to send and receive payments, as well as purchase digital dollars directly from the interface of the messaging service. This is an extension of the pilot program started six weeks ago focusing on remittances.
Novi, the wallet service of Meta, has launched an extension of its pilot program that started six weeks ago. This new phase includes integration with one of the most used messaging services in the world, Whatsapp. Now, selected users in the U.S. will have the opportunity to buy, send, and receive digital dollars with other users also enrolled in the test.
The announcement was made by Stephane Kasriel, the new head of Novi, who detailed this new phase of the pilot program on Twitter. Regarding the choice of Whatsapp, Kasriel explained:
We often hear that people use WhatsApp to coordinate sending money to loved ones, and Novi enables people to do that securely, instantly and with no fees. Payments will appear directly in people’s chat.
This seems a natural evolution for the future of payments envisioned by Novi, which aims to include a wallet in each smartphone that has Whatsapp. Prior to this announcement, Novi had started another pilot focused on allowing users to send remittances from the U.S. to Guatemala.
At that time, Facebook announced its system would be using USDP (paxos dollars) as currency for the system due to the regulatory problems the company had faced in launching its own currency. According to the interface shown on the official Novi Whatsapp page, this new phase of the test will also leverage USDP for payments.
Kasriel also hinted at a possible extended rollout of the pilot feature to other countries, once the company evaluates the behavior of the software and the response from users.
David Marcus, who was the lead for Novi and has managed the project since 2018, referred to this new development as a “farewell gift.” The executive stated on Twitter:
Another small step in the right direction. Today, we’re starting the rollout of the @novi wallet in @WhatsApp in the US. On a personal level, this is the best farewell gift from the best team ever!
Marcus announced his exit from the project last month noting he’d be pursuing new projects. This release could be a breath of fresh air for the project, which has been attacked by regulators since the first time it was announced.
What do you think about Novi and its Whatsapp rollout? Tell us in the comments section below.
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