Signal – the instant messaging and communications mobile application, widely known for its high-end encryption feature – yesterday, announced its plans to delve into the world of cryptocurrency by integrating the budding cryptocurrency – MobileCoin, into its platform.
This new feature would afford signal users the ability to make discrete in-app transactions, invisible even to Signal, using the integrated digital coins across its messaging platform.
The non-profit instant messaging platform, which saw new entrants skyrocket in early January following privacy and data sharing kerfuffle between Whatsapp and its users, is seeking to expand its base and rival the mobile app messaging giant by extending its trademark encrypted security feature to in-app payments that are focused on cryptocurrency.
Even though other rigorously tested privacy-focused crypto coins like Monero and Zcash exist, MobileCoin makes a great choice of adoption for this innovation, says Marlinspike – Signal’s CEO. It guarantees a lighter, more rapid, user-friendly, privacy-prioritized end-to-end transaction experience currently unavailable with other mobile apps – to- bank transactions (like iMessage and Whatsapp) and conveniently solves the porosity and vulnerability issues that characterize other decentralized blockchain-based cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
MobileCoin, which remained relatively worthless until December 2020, is currently listed on the billionaire exchange platform, FTX, owned by Sam Bankman-Fried, which is available to many other countries except the United States. This is, in part, one of the reasons why the current testing phase excludes the US and focuses solely on the UK market.
In response to expressed concerns over Signal metamorphosing into a full-time cryptocurrency exchange platform and trapping itself in a web of regulatory laws, Marlinspike retorts ‘that there are no such plans in the foreseeable future as the app only aims to improve user convenience and comfort.’ He further adds that they would in no way be deterred by raised red flags citing worries over the potential for criminal activities such as sanction evasion, black market arms deal or illegal wire funneling, to satisfy its genuine customers who would benefit from the convenience delivered. He added that such illicit behavior has been in existence long before the advent of the platform and would continue to be regardless of the stipulated penalties of the law. Other concerns raised are the short reach and poor acceptability that MobileCoin has in the general cryptocurrency market. This may pose a challenge for users who ultimately wish to purchase goods or services with their coin or exchange it for physical cash. Also, seeing that it is still a new entrant, there are fears of instability and frequent volatility common with most cryptocurrencies which may eventually slash off a great portion of users’ value during holding periods. Still, as with most cases, such volatility only sees a surge in value – 600% with MobileCoin just recently – to the advantage of investors.
Currently in its beta stage and open to developer testers and tech innovation aficionado, the new feature would be rolled out strictly on Android and iOS, first to English users in the UK before becoming available to other countries.