Messengers have become an essential part of our everyday life. It is only logical that they integrate more and more functions. One of the most important features is to obtain an opportunity to send money to another person using them. Some companies are working hard on integrating crypto and digital payments to messengers these days.
It is obvious that the messenger with a digital wallet (or vice versa) has endless potential. However, the desire to add new functions, especially ones that are connected to cryptocurrency, may bring some obstacles. For that matter, it is sometimes easier for new and smaller projects to implement new technologies. Let’s consider some of them.
Recently it was claimed that Signal is working on the development of a crypto payment service that is going to be integrated into the messaging app. In April 2021 it has integrated support for the cryptocurrency MobileCoin (MOB).
Signal is a cryptographic protocol that provides end-to-end encryption for various types of communication. It was introduced by Open Whisper System in 2014. Later it became Signal protocol. Some existing applications have implemented this protocol to encrypt messages. For example, WhatsApp.
The peculiarity of Signal is the so-called “ratchet” system. This technology allows exchanging encrypted messages based on the secret key. Sending messages participants use key agreement protocol. Every message has a new secret key so that each new one could not be calculated from the previous one.
A new era for Signal has started when Brian Acton, WhatsApp co-founder, joined Signal. Since then Signal is becoming a more popular communication platform. Even Elon Musk invoked people to start using Signal:
Mixin is an open source crypto wallet and messenger. It is based on Signal protocol, thus it provides end-to-end encryption for exchanging messages. Mixin Network is a distributed second layer ledger. Mixin wallet supports thousands of cryptocurrencies. Users can send crypto directly to their phone contacts.
The Status platform combines messenger functions with wallet and web-browser. The messenger allows users to exchange encrypted messages. The wallet gives an opportunity to send crypto invoices from peer to peer. The option is available for Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens. The web browser provides decentralized search, users can visit websites within the Status app.
Apart from all young projects, social media giants are also trying to join digital payments. It is important to mention that for them everything is not that simple. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at what they have been able to achieve.
WeChat is a Chinese messenger. However, to be honest, it is far more than just a messenger. WeChat has an integrated payment system that allows users to make instant payments. There are various ways to do that: vendors can create barcodes or QR codes for users to scan, WeChat pay can be integrated into other apps, or users can send funds directly to each other right in the messenger. WeChat supports a number of major currencies, this helps to make cross-border payments. The local currency is converted automatically.
The WeChat payment system is being used by millions of people every day. At the same time, it is important to mention that WeChat does not support crypto payments or trading. This statement was made by the representative of the company in the official account on Weibo.
Many crypto enthusiasts find it very upsetting that an absolutely ready-to-use system cannot make its input into cryptocurrency adoption.
Some other messengers are ready to improve this area. Facebook has supported an idea of person-to-person payments within the app since the 2010s. Back then Facebook created its own technology for money transactions. However, in 2017 it partnered with PayPal.
Payments in the messenger are available only to U.S. users.It is a well-known fact that for some time Facebook has been working on its cryptocurrency, Diem. It must provide an opportunity to make crypto payments in Facebook Messenger. It is also known that the Diem project faced some obstacles in the past. Hopefully, in the near future Facebook will show some results.
Telegram had a plan to join the crypto community. In the spring of 2018 it announced to the investors that there were plans to issue coins and implement crypto payments. Thus the blockchain platform Telegram Open Network (TON) appeared. It was the company’s crypto subsidiary. The idea was to give access to decentralized payments to everyone who had smartphones. However, after some intense debate with the SEC, the project was abandoned.
WhatsApp is also working on digital payments. In November 2020 it launched WhatsApp Payment in India. 140 banks support this feature, users do not pay extra fees for these transactions. So far WhatsApp is not going to implement crypto payments but is definitely working on extending the geography of digital payments.
It may be harder for the major players on the market to add some controversial functions, especially connected to crypto. As we can see on the example of Facebook or Telegram, these innovations are not really welcomed. At this point, smaller projects have more opportunities. At the same time we can see a clear trend to digitalized payments and to the creation of more crypto messengers.