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Privacy-focused messenger app Signal has posted early user feedback from the UK-based beta launch of its payments integration with Mobilecoin’s MOB token.
A blog post by Signal head of growth and communication Jun Harada revealed the top four user complaints about its new cryptocurrency integration so far — with a major complaint from many users about the entire concept itself because “cryptocurrency is the worst”. He reassured such users it was an optional feature.
Signal announced on April 6 that is aiming to extend its privacy protection features to payments in an attempt to replicate the success of Paypal-owned Venmo — a fast and relatively cheap peer-to-peer payment service that is popular in the U.S.
The top MOB-related complaint from users was that the “fees are too high”, with MobileCoin transaction fees currently sitting at around 50p or $0.60. Haranda acknowledged that the amount was “kind of a lot in order to pay your friend for a slice of pizza” and said Signal was working on bringing transaction fees down.
Another complaint surrounded the difficulty of getting funds in and out. Currently, UK-based users have to wire transfer money to exchanges that support MobileCoin, which subsequently incurs extra funding, transaction, and withdrawal fees that compound on top of Signlal’s fees.
Lastly, the firm reported that the price volatility of MOB was a big concern for users. The token currently holds an obscure position in the crypto marketplace. MOB went live in December 2020, with 250 million coins minted at genesis, and mainly trades on FTX with a daily volume of around $20 million. The token has its price, but no market cap listed on CoinGecko.
Haranda said the company had considered alternatives such as Zcash or Lightning. In the case of Zcash, while it was very private, it wasn’t fast or mobile-orientated enough. Lightning meanwhile does not have “very strong privacy guarantees.” However he added:
These projects are all constantly improving, and we hope are focused on getting closer to being integratable by an app like Signal so that it would be possible in the future.
Signal’s integration with MOB doesn’t appear to have gone as smoothly as first hoped, with some members in the community labeling the token as “shitcoin” and questioning Signal’s relationship to Mobilecoin with Signal Founder Moxie Marlinspike, after he reportedly appeared on an early draft of MobileCoin’s white paper as its Chief Technology Officer.
In a Reddit thread on April 8, MobileCoin CEO Joshua Goldbard assured the community that Marlinspike only served as “technical advisor” and never served as an exec on the project.
Translation, Signal isn’t integrating just any random shitcoin, it is integrating Moxie Marlinspike’s random shitcoin. Gee, what a coinkidink. I wonder how much he’s unloaded on suckers already as a result of this pump & dump? https://t.co/bbEpzidw68
— Nicholas Weaver (@ncweaver) April 7, 2021
Others have drawn attention to a suspicious rise in the price of the coin. CoinGecko shows the price surged from $7 on March 28 to around $65 on April 6, before Signal announced its integration with MobileCoin. MOB hit its all-time high of $69 on April 7, which was followed by a crash to $40 the next day. As of today, MOB is sitting at $53.
Controversy surrounds Signal’s recently announced MobileCoin integration, with users expressing concerns over ties between Signal’s founder and the cryptocurrency, opacity surrounding the coin’s issuance, and suspicious gains leading up to the partnership’s announcement.
Signal is an encrypted messaging application that has been embraced by the privacy and security-conscious community since launching as Open Whisper Systems in 2013 and rebranding two years later.
MobileCoin was founded in 2017, issuing roughly 15% of its supply to private investors after its entire supply was minted at launch.
The messaging app announced it had launched payment functionality through MobileCoin on April 4, with Signal founder Moxie Marlinspike stating it chose MobileCoin due to it requiring little storage space and providing fast transactions without sacrificing privacy on mobile devices.
Signal’s decision to integrate MobileCoin appears to have been made some time ago, with Internet Archive’s Jonah Edwards noting the source code for the cryptocurrency integration was kept private for nearly 12 months before being published to GitHub.
With MobileCoin’s MOB token rallying roughly 450% from March 28 until April 3, and news of the Signal integration pushing prices up to $66 as of April 7, some observers are speculating the price may have been affected by investors with advance warning of the announcement.
Concerns have been raised regarding Moxie’s relationship to MobileCoin, with early copies of the project’s whitepaper appearing to list Marlinspike as MobileCoin’s CTO.
While MobileCoin’s CEO, Joshua Goldbard, has sought to assure the community that Marlinspike only served as a “technical advisor” to the project and has never served as an executive, Goldbard appears to have been inconsistent in his characterization of Marlinspike’s involvement with the project.
In the Reddit thread, Goldbard dismisses the characterization of Marlinspike as one of MobileCoin’s founders. However, Goldbard also describes Marlinspike as one of the three individuals who “created Mobilecoin.”
Goldbard also appears to avoid questions regarding Marlinspike’s compensation for his role as technical advisor to the project. MobileCoin’s CEO also stated the team is working with its lawyers to determine what information regarding the MOB’s circulating supply can be made public:
“Regarding circulating supply, we are still working with our lawyers to determine what we can and can’t say here. The total number of coins is 250M, all of which were minted on day 1. We have been working diligently to get the coins into the ecosystem as quickly as possible.”
Buymobilecoin, a website that allows individuals to purchase MobileCoin tokens directly from the project, has also attracted controversy.
On Reddit, Goldband notes that more than 50% of available MobileCoin can be purchased through the website. However, the buying process is opaque, with no reference price provided, and orders organized via email correspondence.
Individuals are limited to purchases of up to 1,000 Euros daily and 5,000 Euros annually, but businesses that can demonstrate “the need for consumptive paper-to-peer use” of MobileCOin can buy up to 100,000 Euros worth of the token every 12 months. The site makes it clear that MobileCoins are not allowed to be sold or traded with U.S citizens, either through the site, or peer to peer within Signal.
MobileCoin also withholds information regarding how many coins are sold through the platform, with Goldbard stating: “With respect to how many coins were sold at buymobilecoin.com, we do not release this information out of respect for the privacy of our users.”
Cointelegraph reached out to MobileCoin for comment, but did not receive a response before publication. This article will be updated accordingly.
Signal has started rolling out its latest beta version which not only includes performance improvement and bug fixes but also offers a new payment feature using cryptocurrency, initially available for users in the United Kingdom.
Named “Signal Payments” the new features reflect the privacy-based mentality of the popular messaging app by providing a means for users to easily and privately send and receive money “as easily as sending or receiving a message”.
The feature is currently only available to users using Signal’s beta version who are located in the United Kingdom. It makes use of the privacy-focused payment network MobileCoin, which makes use of the MOB cryptocurrency.
Eligible users can link their MobileCoin wallet to signal to start using the feature by sending and receiving funds, as well as reviewing their wallet’s history and keep track of their holdings from the Signal App.
While the Signal account will be linked to the MobileCoin wallet, the user’s financial information will be stored locally to ensure its privacy, meaning that Signal will never have access to their information or access to the funds.
While Signal stated in the announcement that the beta testing will be expanded in the future as users provide the team with feedback, no date has been set yet.
Thousands of Whatsapp users continue to migrate to other instant messaging platforms as May 15th gets closer.
The reason behind the mass exodus is the changes to Whatsapp privacy policies, which have been controversial among users and privacy experts due to the change on the platform’s ethos as Facebook aims to increase its earnings 6 years after the acquisition.
While Facebook has insisted that the changes to the privacy policies should not concern users as conversations and other user data will not be shared with any party, their defense has largely been based on a misunderstanding of how the policy affects its users.
The new provisions will provide WhatsApp with a means for Facebook to capitalize on data resulting from its users messaging business via Whatsaap, allowing for ad targeting and other types of tracking.
While some users were already affected by these policies due to having to accept them in the past, Facebook had given its users the possibility to deny access to this information and continue using the app. Now, users will have either to accept the policy changes or not use the platform.
As a result of the controversy, Facebook decided to move the policy changes from February 8th to May 17th as it aimed to set the record straight with users. Despite the companies dominance in the industry, a big part of the user base has decided to move to privacy-focused platforms like Signal and Telegram.
While Facebook’s latest reported data breach took place back in 2019, the data has started to be made public in recent days, providing access to more than 500 million users’ phone numbers and personal information.
Facebook says it has fixed the vulnerabilities that allowed hackers to gain access to the data but experts warned that the leaked information can be used by malicious actors as part of scams, social engineering, and hacking attacks.
Dave Walker, a cybersecurity researcher, recently made public that Mark Zuckerberg was among the users who had their data leaked on the breach.
In another turn of events, Mark Zuckerberg also respects his own privacy, by using a chat app that has end-to-end encryption and isn’t owned by @facebook
This is the number associated with his account from the recent facebook leak. https://t.co/AXbXrF4ZxE
— Dave Walker (@Daviey) April 4, 2021
Internet users were quick to join the trend by making comments and jokes about WhatsApp, Facebook, and Zuckerberg’s stance on privacy, with Signal’s official Twitter account posting: “With the May 15th WhatsApp Terms of Service acceptance deadline fast approaching, Mark leads by example.”
The relevance of WhatsApp as the primary method of communication among phone users in a lot of countries is sure to prevent most of its userbase to easily migrate to other platforms without losing connections.
Signal has established itself as a popular alternative due to its privacy focus and endorsement by personalities like Elon Musk.
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
Signal is reportedly under attack from Iranian authorities as interest is surging amid speculation the government already has access to users’ information on other popular messaging apps.
According to Al Jazeera, many users of the privacy-focused messaging app in Iran have reported being unable to connect since Signal took the top position at the Google Play Store in the country this month. The app has already been removed from Iranian app stores Cafe Bazaar and Myket.
In a tweet, Signal claimed it was “#1 on the Iranian government’s block list” and working to get around the country’s attempts at censorship.
Ever since Signal simultaneously hit #1 on the Play Store and #1 on the government’s block list, we’ve been working around censorship.
Unable to stop registration, the IR censors are now dropping all Signal traffic.
Iranian people deserve privacy. We haven’t given up.
— Signal (@signalapp) January 25, 2021
The report says that a committee of Iranian officials tasked with identifying “criminal content” has tagged Signal as a threat. However, a government spokesman also claimed the judiciary had not “blocked any media, news outlet or messaging service” and had no intentions of doing so.
Iran faced a large number of widespread civil protests in November 2019 amid the economic hardship brought on by U.S. sanctions, allegations of government corruption, an increase in the price of fuel, and later from the COVID-19 pandemic. Many social media posts at the time showed Iranian authorities killing protesters, resulting in the government shutting down the internet for nearly everyone in the country for days.
Residents of Iran can now send messages through WhatsApp and Instagram, but many speculate that the government has been able to access the apps, effectively offering no privacy. Iranian authorities currently block Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Telegram, the last of which reportedly takes up 60% of the country’s internet bandwidth.
Though Iran attempted to block Telegram in 2018 amid users sharing violent reactions to protesters from authorities, many residents have been able to circumvent these restrictions with VPNs. The app is still widely used in the country under these conditions, but privacy remains a concern as rumors circulate the government may even have access to Telegram.
Alex Gladstein of the Human Rights Foundation has said privacy tools like Signal have been used by similar movements in the United States — specifically, Black Lives Matter protests — “as a way to stay safe from police surveillance.” He opined that anyone living under a dictatorship is most likely to need privacy, and consequently demonizing Signal in a democratic country could lead to a bigger police state fueled by “mass surveillance to fight extremism.”
Digital rights researcher Amir Rashidi echoed this sentiment in the Al Jazeera report on the attempt to shut down Signal:
“Traditionally, whenever the Iranian government can’t figure out what is going on or who is doing what, they fear maybe people are doing something against the government.”
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.
Privacy-focused messaging app Signal is reportedly devoting resources towards the development of a cryptocurrency payments service for its users.
According to a report by Casey Newton, the founder of the technology newsletter service Platformer, Signal is mulling crypto payment integration on the app.
The report claims that Signal reportedly ran pilot tests for such a token on the Binance-backed, Stellar-based privacy cryptocurrency platform MobileCoin. Moxie Marlinspike, CEO of Signal, serves as an adviser on the MobileCoin project heightening speculation that the test could be a trial run for subsequent deployment on the messaging app.
The Platformer report also noted that Marlinspike has downplayed these speculations, describing the tests as “design explorations,” adding, “If we did decide we wanted to put payments into Signal, we would try to think really carefully about how we did that. It’s hard to be totally hypothetical.”
However, according to Newton, former Signal employees say the company is actively pursuing the necessary protocols for integrating MobileCoin on the messaging platform. Earlier in January, MobileCoin attempted to clarify its relationship with Signal:
To be clear MobileCoin is very much not Signal. We’re fans of their work but we are not them. Moxie advises us but Signal is a fiercely independent non-profit. We would love for them to use the tech we made but the choice is theirs and theirs alone.
— MobileCoin (@mobilecoin) January 16, 2021
If the reports turn out to be true, Signal will become the latest messaging service to enter the crypto and digital payments arena.
Facebook has made multiple amendments to its planned Diem project after intense regulatory backlash.
Indeed, the integration of a privacy coin on the Signal platform could put the company in danger of serious regulatory scrutiny. According to Financial News, financial services firms are already worried about the emerging regulatory blind spot occasioned by the migration of traders from WhatsApp to Signal.
The privacy-focused messaging service has already seen its userbase jump over 100% following recent policy changes by WhatsApp. There are, however, concerns that the addition of anonymous payments and other rumored features could see the platform becoming a home for illegal activities.
Singal did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.
The Bitcoin 4-hour price chart is seeing a bullish divergence and a TD9 buy as hopes for a relief rally rise.