Coinbase Launches Crypto Transactions via WhatsApp, Telegram, and Other Messaging Platforms

Coinbase Wallet, a prominent player in the cryptocurrency exchange sector, has rolled out a game-changing update that simplifies and accelerates international money transfers. This new feature, part of Coinbase’s strategy to make cryptocurrency transactions more accessible, allows users to send money via links shared through various messaging and social media apps​​​​.

How the Feature Works

The process is designed for user-friendliness. Users can create a link within the Coinbase Wallet and share it through popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, iMessage, Snapchat, TikTok, and even email. When the recipient clicks the link, they are directed to download the Coinbase Wallet app (if they haven’t already) and are then able to create a wallet with one click to claim the funds. If the funds remain unclaimed for a 12-day period, they are automatically refunded to the sender. This approach ensures convenience and security in transactions​​​​.

No Fees and Instant Settlement

Coinbase has highlighted that there are no fees for transactions made through this feature and that settlement of transactions is instant. This is particularly notable for USD Coin (USDC) transfers, a U.S. dollar stablecoin co-launched by Coinbase and its issuer, Circle, in 2018​​​​.

Simplifying International Money Transfers

The update addresses the complexities and costs typically associated with traditional methods of sending money internationally, such as expensive wire transfers, bank fees, and processing times that can take up to five business days. This feature allows users to bypass traditional banking hurdles while eliminating fees and ensuring instant settlement of transactions​​.

Global Reach and Usability

Coinbase Wallet’s new feature supports 20 languages and is accessible in over 170 countries, significantly improving liquidity and access globally. This includes introducing cash payment methods in key regions like Brazil, Nigeria, and the Philippines. Additionally, Coinbase introduced a “simple mode” for its wallet app, streamlining usability to focus on essential features like crypto swaps and digital asset storage​​.

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Sam Bankman-Fried’s Lawyers Reach Agreement with Federal Prosecutors

The attorneys for Sam Bankman-Fried have struck a settlement with the federal prosecutors who are investigating his usage of chat applications.

SBF “must not utilise any encrypted or ephemeral call of messaging programme, including but not limited to Signal,” according to a document filed with the court on February 6. This agreement was reached between both sides.

However, in accordance with the terms of the agreement, the former CEO of FTX will be permitted to use FaceTime, Zoom, iMessage, SMS text, email, and Facebook Messenger.

Additionally, he will be permitted to use the encrypted messaging service WhatsApp; but, this privilege will be contingent upon the installation of monitoring gear on his mobile device “that automatically records and retains all WhatsApp interactions.”

The most recent deal is the result of efforts made by federal prosecutors before the end of January to prevent SBF from contacting current or former workers of FTX or its sibling trading business, Alameda Research.

Specifically, on January 15, prosecutors made the allegation that SBF had sought to “influence” the testimony of FTX US general counsel Ryne Miller via the use of the encrypted communications software Signal.

On the 30th of January, it was also alleged that SBF had contacted FTX CEO John Ray in order to investigate methods in which business monies that were related to Alameda wallets might be accessed.

As things stand, a ruling from February 1 states that in order for SBF to remain free on bail until his trial, he is not allowed to communicate with current or former employees of FTX or Alameda Research “except in the presence of counsel.” This restriction applies to all interactions with such individuals.

Since the end of December, SBF has been placed under house arrest in Palo Alto, California, and the beginning of his criminal trial in federal court in Manhattan is slated to take place in the month of October.

In the meanwhile, the district court in Delaware is making progress with the bankruptcy procedures for FTX. The Chief Executive Officer of FTX, Ray, gave evidence in court on February 6 and recalled how challenging it was for him to take control of the firm in November.

Ray said that “not a single list of anything” pertaining to bank accounts, income, insurance, or people could be located at FTX, which caused a frantic and disorganised search for information to take place.

FTX fell victim to hackers on the same day that he started directing the company through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy procedures.

“Those hackers continued on almost all night long. It was truly 48 hours of what I can only characterise as utter horror,” he added. “Those hacks went on basically all night long.”


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WhatsApp Rolls Out Crypto Payments Pilot Program in the US

One of the world’s largest mobile messaging services is launching a new feature enabling its users to send and receive crypto assets.

American platform WhatsApp just announced a new pilot program that integrates Novi, the digital wallet developed by leading social media platform Facebook, now Meta. US-based WhatsApp users will now be able to exchange digital currencies without having to switch over to another app.

Head of WhatsApp Will Cathcart says in a tweet,

“New in the US: use your Novi digital wallet to send and receive money right within a WhatsApp chat.

People use [WhatsApp] to coordinate sending money to loved ones, and now Novi will help them do that securely, instantly and with no fees.”

Back in October, Novi first announced a limited rollout involving the Paxos Dollar (USDP) stablecoin, which is secured by the Coinbase Custody Trust Company.

Now Novi’s head Stephane Kasriel says it’s time to take the next step forward.

In a series of tweets he explains,

“Since we introduced the Novi pilot just six weeks ago, we’ve been able to test and learn which features and functionality are most important to people and focus our efforts on making those even better.

We’re still very early in the Novi pilot journey, so we made the decision to test this new entry point in one country to start and will look to extend it once we’ve heard from people what they think of this new experience.

Using Novi doesn’t change the privacy of WhatsApp personal messages and calls, which are always end-to-end encrypted.”

The Novi website says that WhatsApp users can send money as simply as they would send a message, all while still remaining in the chat.

Currently, it’s free to both send and receive funds using Novi on WhatsApp.

WhatsApp is owned by Meta and is estimated to have over two billion users worldwide.

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Featured Image: Shutterstock/Zelenov Iurii/Natalia Siiatovskaia


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WhatsApp starts testing currency payments with Meta’s Novi wallet

Despite some senators in the United States opposing Meta launching its digital currency products, the development of the social media giant’s digital wallet, Novi, continues apace. 

Stephane Kasriel, the head of Meta’s cryptocurrency and fintech unit Novi, officially announced on Dec. 8 that Meta’s messenger subsidiary WhatsApp has started testing transactions through Meta’s Novi wallet.

According to the exec, the new feature is available for a “limited number of people” in the United States, allowing users to send and receive money on WhatsApp “instantly and with no fees.”

Kasriel noted that Meta has been able to test and learn which features and functionalities are “most important to people” since they introduced the Novi pilot in mid-October. He added that using Novi doesn’t affect the privacy of WhatsApp personal messages and calls, “which are always end-to-end encrypted.”

Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp at Meta, confirmed the news on Twitter, noting some U.S. users can now send and receive money with Novi on WhatsApp. “People use WA to coordinate sending money to loved ones, and now Novi will help them do that securely, instantly and with no fees,” he wrote.

Formerly known as Facebook, Meta officially launched a digital currency pilot in collaboration with major crypto exchange Coinbase and stablecoin firm Paxos in October. The pilot initially rolled out in the U.S. and Guatemala, using Pax Dollar (USDP), a dollar-pegged stablecoin issued by blockchain trust company Paxos.

Related: Meta’s head of crypto to step down at end of year

A U.S. non-profit organization, the Open Markets Institute, subsequently sent a letter to multiple regulators including the U.S. Department of Justice, arguing that Meta may be “in the illegal business of receiving deposits without a bank charter.” The organization specifically pointed out that USDP is one of the smaller stablecoins, “with far less liquidity and usage” than the top stablecoins like Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC).

“There are several legal and regulatory implications for Facebook’s pilot that warrant particular attention by the agencies,” the Open Markets Institute letter stated.