Meta’s Digital Wallet Novi Rolls Out Stablecoin Payments on WhatsApp — Send Money as Easily as a Message

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Novi, the digital wallet created by Meta, is rolling out a pilot program in the U.S. to enable users to send and receive cryptos via WhatsApp, with no fees — a bold step toward normalizing crypto use that we’ve been seeing prominently all year long.

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“There’s a new way to try the @Novi digital wallet. Starting today, a limited number of people in the US will be able to send and receive money using Novi on @WhatsApp, making sending money to family and friends as easy as sending a message,” Stephane Kasriel, head of Novi, tweeted.

To start, Novi uses Pax Dollar (USDP), a stablecoin that runs on secure blockchain technology. Stablecoins are pegged to the U.S. dollar.

People can sign up for the Novi digital wallet by downloading the Novi app. It soon will be available in additional Meta apps, like Messenger and WhatsApp, according to the website.

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When money is added to a Novi account, it’s instantly converted to USDP, and on Novi, 1 USDP is equal to $1. People will send USDP. Their recipients can either keep the money in their Novi balance or withdraw it in their local currency by picking up cash at a nearby location or transferring it to their bank account. These options vary by country, according to the website.

“We chose USDP for the pilot so that we can test our systems with a stablecoin that has been operating successfully for over three years and that has important regulatory and consumer protection attributes,” the website states. “This means that people can easily withdraw their money in their local currency when they choose. USDP reserves are fully backed by the U.S. dollar and are held 100% in cash and cash equivalents. We chose Coinbase, which manages $180B assets on its platform, to provide custody solutions for the secure storage of our customers’ funds.”

The pilot is also being rolled out in Guatemala. In the US, Novi is currently available everywhere except for Alaska, Nevada, New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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