Novi digital wallet goes live on WhatsApp for some users0
The information comes from a tweet by Novi’s head Stephane Kasriel, who announced that “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.”
WhatsApp has been working on this integration for quite some time, with digital hints popping up way back in version 184.108.40.206 of the popular app. The pilot program will run free of any fees and commissions, meaning people won’t have to pay a cent when transferring money.
Early adopters of this payment method in WhatsApp will be able to make as many transactions as they want - Kasriel reiterates.
What is Novi?
Novi is a digital wallet from Facebook (WhatsApp’s parent company) that uses digital currencies (currently the platform operates with something called Pax Dollar) to transfer money internationally.
Let’s say you want to send money to your relatives in Japan. You add $100 to your Novi account and these are automatically converted to Pax Dollar (1USD = 1USDP). Then you send the money simply by tapping on a button - it’s like sending an instant message. Your people in Japan will get the 100 Pax Dollars and they will automatically be converted to Yen, so they can then withdraw them easily.
Novi runs on blockchain technology - the latest advance in secure transactions, so your money will be safe. Blockchain technology has many other benefits, such as the sheer speed of the transactions and also reduced cost (compared to bank transfers and other more conventional money-moving methods).
Facebook was hoping to use its own cryptocurrency coin called Libra (it was originally Calibro, and it’s expected to become Diem at some point in the future) but the social network ran into unexpected setbacks. Diem was supposed to launch in 2021 but with only a couple of weeks left, we’re probably looking at an official release sometime next year.
How to start using Novi on WhatsApp?
If you happen to be one of the lucky few who have access to this pilot run of the Novin integration, you can try sending and receiving money following these steps:
- Start a chat with a contact that you’d like to send money to
- Select the attachments icon
- Tap on the “Payment” option in the pop-up menu
- You’ll be prompted to log into your Novi account or create a new one if you don’t have one
- That’s it, the next screen will allow you to send/receive money
The pilot program is currently available only in Guatemala and the United States, so the aforementioned example with the Japanese cousins is a bit imaginary at the moment. Facebook is working hard on expanding the functionality and availability of the service, so we’re guessing it won’t be long before more countries are supported.