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Encrypted messaging app Signal has begun testing a payments feature that allows users to send cryptocurrency to other users privately.
Signal announced on Tuesday, Apr. 6, that it is integrating support for MobileCoin for a new peer-to-peer payments system in the beta version of its apps.
The new system called Signal Payments has been launched for beta testing on Android and iOS platforms for UK-based users only at the current time. Additionally, it only supports MobileCoin’s MOB cryptocurrency, which has been designed to be used on smartphones.
Signal was mulling private crypto payments in January as reported by Cointelegraph. Signal’s head of growth and communication, Jun Harada, commented on the privacy features of MobileCoin, stating:
“As always, our goal is to keep your data in your hands rather than ours; MobileCoin’s design means Signal does not have access to your balance, full transaction history, or funds. You can also transfer your funds at any time if you want to switch to another app or service.”
Signal creator, Moxie Marlinspike, stated that the new payments feature is an attempt to extend its privacy protections to payments, with the same experience that the app has offered for encrypted conversations.
The announcement comes just days after the news that the personal data of over 530 million Facebook users was posted in a hacking forum.
The company chose MobileCoin over other privacy-focused cryptocurrencies such as Monero or Zcash because it is designed for mobile devices, requires little storage space on the device and offers high-speed transactions.
MobileCoin was launched in 2017 but only began trading in December 2020. Signal has close ties with the cryptocurrency, with Marlinspike serving as a paid technical adviser for the project since its inception.
MOB is relatively obscure in the world of cryptocurrencies, with no market cap listed on the major coin analytics websites. It can only be traded on the FTX exchange at the time of writing where daily volume is around $80 million. There is a total supply of 250 million tokens and it has jumped in price by 14% over the past 24 hours on the announcement, currently trading at $66 according to Coingecko.
On March 16, Cointelegraph reported that Signal has started accepting crypto donations via 12 different coins, as a form of support for the Signal Technology Foundation, the nonprofit organization behind the app.
Signal messaging app, which offers end-to-end encryption, has begun to accept cryptocurrency donations that will be used to support the platform.
Signal is run by the Signal Technology Foundation, which is a non-profit organization behind the secure messaging app. Per Signal’s official announcement on Twitter:
“As a nonprofit organization, we depend on your support. If you’ve been patiently waiting for Signal to accept cryptocurrency donations, you no longer need to hodl back your generosity.”
Twelve cryptocurrencies are accepted by the non-profit organization, namely Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Chainlink (LINK), Gemini Dollar (GUSD) stablecoin, Basic Attention Token (BAT), and Zcash (ZEC).
The cryptocurrency donations can be paid to the institution via Signal’s crypto donation section, “The Giving Block.” Anonymous donations are also accepted, Signal specified.
Signal is a cross-platform messaging service that was founded in 2018 by Whatsapp co-founder Brian Acton, who left WhatsApp and Facebook in 2017 to create Signal.
The messaging service, which is known for its privacy features, experienced a huge surge of downloads, gaining popularity in Hong Kong after the new national security law was passed on June 30, 2020.
Image source: Shutterstock
Private messaging app Signal is developing cryptocurrency payments and other features that reportedly have employees worried.
Signal is actively developing payment features relating to a Stellar-based, privacy-focused cryptocurrency called MobileCoin, a project advised by Signal CEO Moxie Marlinspike, Platformer said Tuesday.
Like the the Facebook-backed Diem (formerly Libra) project, MobileCoin has been touted internally as a way to make it easier for people in developing nations move money around, per the report. The app is also said to be working on allowing customers to have unique usernames amid concerns about its current use of mobile phone numbers as the basis for accounts.
However, employees at the firm fear the additions may open the app up to abusive behavior and bring negative attention to the app and encryption technologies from regulators, Platformer said.
A crypto payments feature is seen by staff as risky, since it may draw criminals onto the platform, while usernames run the risk of impersonators and scammers. There are also concerns that Signal may be failing to develop policies on how to handle bad actors.
“The world needs products like Signal but they also need Signal to be thoughtful,” Gregg Bernstein, a former user researcher at Signal told Platformer.
MobileCoin is said to be a mobile-first privacy coin built with Stellar’s blockchain technology. In May 2018, the project raised $30 million via a simple agreement for future tokens (SAFT) sale.