Meta’s problematic cryptocurrency project has taken another step forward, and today the new head of the New Stephanie Kasriel announcing that a limited number of people in the US will be able to send and receive money using New on WhatsApp, following its recent initial trial process
As you can see in this series, trial users will be able to quickly and easily transfer funds – free of charge – via New on WhatsApp, which will essentially serve as a broader proof of the process test concept.
Initial The pilot of the new digital wallet was launched among a small group of users in the US and Guatemala back in October, allowing users to send and receive money between the two regions. That first real test of the system provided insights for the New Team – as he explained Kasriel:
“Since we introduced the New Pilot just six weeks ago, we have been able to test and learn which features and functionality are most important to people, and focus our efforts on making them even better. We often hear that people use WhatsApp to coordinate sending money to loved ones, and Novi allows people to do it safely, instantly and free of charge. ”
This is a key use case for New, which allows users, especially those in emerging markets, to send remittances to the app, such as sending money back home to families from other regions.
Remittances are a key element for the Indian market, with Indian citizens transfer more funds through remittances than anyone else in the world. This is where Meta would really like to see his New Process gain in effect, which would help increase the usefulness and value of WhatsApp, the most widely used messaging app in India, to 487 million local users.
This would also boost his eCommerce push. Once users transfer funds to the app, it then makes it much easier to get them to buy products or pay for services in the stream, and while the Indian government remains strongly against cryptocurrency and gives Meta, in particular, more economic impact, Meta will hopefully this initial test will better show the potential value of the system, which could then help him persuade regulators in other markets to allow him to launch New there as well.
Although it is difficult to say what the future holds for the project. A lot of it probably comes down to your view of cryptocurrency in a broader sense and whether it will actually become a viable, mainstream payment option.
The appeal of cryptocurrencies is that it separates consumers from dependence on traditional institutional frameworks, giving you more freedom and control over your finances. But at the same time, with that comes greater risk and fewer recourse measures in the event of theft or similar fraud.
There are also problems with the wider economic impacts of more people moving away from established financial systems, and in most cases there is no definitive right answer as to what is the best way forward, and indeed, what the true benefits of cryptocurrencies are in a broader sense.
As a result, financial regulators have been largely resistant to crypto initiatives – although crypto supporters would say they are protecting their own ground. Some governments are now funding initial testing of cryptocurrency payment programs to test water, but the days are still very early, and market fluctuations stress that much remains to be worked out.
In the case of Meta in particular, regulators, as noted, are also resilient to giving more power and influence to the technology giant, with the addition of payments, along with a mass of user data, being a step too far for many. That is why Novi now acts independently of Meta, as the project aims to distance itself in order to maximize acceptance, but there is still significant opposition and concern on various fronts.
Maybe this new trial will win more people, but it seems unlikely because it’s not so much a concept that causes hesitation. But it will provide more data that New will be able to rely on – and if consumer acceptance is strong, it will also be able to point to demand and interest to bolster its argument.
New payments are now available to a limited number of WhatsApp users in the United States.
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