The Signal encrypted messaging app is testing a new privacy-focused feature that will allow users to send money to their friends using MobileCoin cryptocurrency.
Signal specifies that this new service will first be available in beta, only in the United Kingdom. UK users of the app should therefore see a new feature called “Signal Payments”, which allows them to send money using MobileCoin.
Signal takes advantage of mistrust of Facebook and WhatsApp
Signal has rallied a number of new users after Facebook-owned WhatsApp announced new terms of service allowing it to share data with Facebook under certain circumstances. These new conditions will come into effect on May 15.
The uncertainty surrounding these changes helped Signal become the fastest growing app in the first quarter of 2021, according to mobile ad analytics firm App Annie.
While many are unfamiliar with MobileCoin, it’s worth noting that the creator of Signal – and its end-to-end encryption protocol – Moxie Marlinspike, advised the company on how to make cryptocurrency both private and user-friendly, according to a Wired article from 2017.
Free yourself from banks for financial transactions
The fact that an encrypted messaging app may soon enable not only end-to-end encrypted communications for voice and text, but also private payments, is quite notable. The difference with WhatsApp or iMessages is mainly due to the fact that the latter, if they also allow payments, generally rely on banks to carry out transactions.
The reason Signal’s peer-to-peer (P2P) payments feature is only available in the UK at the moment is because the cryptocurrency exchange used by MobileCoin is FTX, which does not support transactions for US users. The UK is also a small test bed for in-app payments. According to Josh Goldbard, founder of MobileCoin, the payment function is supposed to be as fast as using Venmo.
Signal claims that Signal Payments, linked to a MobileCoin wallet, will make it easy to transfer funds between contacts, track an account balance, and view transaction history using a simple interface.
Privacy and Security
“As always, our goal is to have your data in your hands rather than ours; MobileCoin is designed in such a way that Signal does not have access to your balance, full transaction history, or funds. You can also transfer your funds at any time if you want to switch to another app or service, ”Signal says on his blog.
MobileCoin has used Microsoft Azure to strengthen the security of its reliance on Intel’s SGX feature, which is designed to allow a server to execute code that even the server operator cannot modify. .
The P2P function currently works on Android and iOS apps, but not on the desktop app.