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Messaging App Signal Rolls Out Crypto Payments

The messaging app Signal has rolled out an option that lets users make cryptocurrency payments, something the platform said it was testing last year.

As Tech Radar reported Friday (Jan. 7), Signal users can transfer money using a cryptocurrency known as MobileCoin, which bills itself as a privacy-focused crypto that can hide the details of transactions.

In an interview last year, Signal CEO Moxie Marlinspike downplayed his company’s cryptocurrency efforts, calling them “design explorations” in an interview with Platformer.

Read more: Signal Messaging App Testing Crypto Payments

“If we did decide we wanted to put payments into Signal, we would try to think really carefully about how we did that,” Marlinspike said. “It’s hard to be totally hypothetical.”

To access the new feature, users just need to tap the + icon in the Signal app and choose “payment.” But as Tech Radar notes, actually getting MobileCoin to make the payment could prove difficult for some people, as it’s available on only two exchanges – BitFinex and FTX – that aren’t open to U.S. citizens.

The Tech Radar story also says the move is likely to get the attention of regulators, out of concerns that cryptocurrencies could be used to fund terrorism and other illegal activities or to avoid paying taxes.

Matt Green, a cryptographer at Johns Hopkins University, tells Tech Radar Signal is “super important,” but adds the new payment system could land them in trouble “when there’s so much legislation and regulation around it.”

Learn more: MobileCoin To Expand Crypto Chatbot Payment System

As we reported last year, MobileCoin closed a Series B round in August of 2021, earning $66 million. The company, founded in 2017, said it planned to use the funds to continue building its technology, which includes MOBot, the first cryptocurrency chatbot payment system, as well as its Merchant Services buildout. The company said at the time that is also working on a stablecoin that will keep pace with the value of the U.S. dollar.

 

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