Crypto-messaging app Signal has added an option for cryptocurrency payments, and has made good on its promise in the early months of 2021, the app announced in the spring of 2021 that it would add a payments feature in beta for its UK users, to test integration with a relatively new privacy-focused cryptocurrency.
But a much broader phase of that experiment has been underway since mid-November, when the app made the same feature available to all of its users without much fanfare.
According to the Arab Gateway for Technology News, this provides the ability to send digital payments that are much more private than a credit card transaction to millions of phones.
Now users of the encrypted instant messaging app worldwide can transfer their money using a privacy-focused cryptocurrency called MobileCoin.
Founded in 2017 by Joshua Goldbard and Shane Glenn, MobileCoin relies on the Stellar blockchain for consensus, and Monero for privacy.
The main selling point of the coin is the ability to hide user transaction details.
Alluding to the number of downloads of the Signal app, Goldbard said: “There are now more than 100 million devices on the planet that have the ability to use MobileCoin and send end-to-end encrypted payments in five seconds or less.
Accessing the new feature in the app itself is as easy as possible. All users need is to tap the + icon in the app and choose to pay.
However, to actually make the payment, users need to get MobileCoin first. This may be a little difficult at the moment.
MobileCoin is currently only available on two platforms, BitFinex and FTX, both of which are off-limits to US citizens. However, that could change at any point in the future.
The move is likely to draw the attention of regulators, many of whom see cryptocurrencies as a way to fund terrorism and other illegal activities, or to circumvent taxes.
Privacy advocates worry that integrating the privacy currency into Signal could create a new legal problem for the communications tool that millions of people rely on.
Commenting on the idea, Matt Green, a cryptographic expert at Johns Hopkins University, said Signal is very important. But adding this payment system can cause it problems when there is a lot of legislation and regulations around it.
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