Encrypted privacy-centric messaging app Signal has announced a beta test called Signal Payments. As the name suggests, this new beta involves testing a beta feature that lets users send and receive money through the app — though, in this case, the transactions involve a private cryptocurrency called MobileCoin.
Bitcoin, despite its popularity and value, has one very big downside that has become more apparent over time: it lacks privacy. That’s where alternatives like the arguably most popular private coin Monero (XMR) come in — these coins can be sent and received with a degree of privacy akin to using cash.
Signal, at its core, is a messaging app designed to be entirely private by encrypting chats. Implementing payment systems like those found in other messaging apps wouldn’t be compatible with the core userbase desire for privacy. As a result, Signal has added support for MobileCoin wallets.
The support allows users to send and receive MOB cryptocurrency with contacts, as well as track their balance and transaction history. Signal notes that it doesn’t have access to any of this information nor the user’s funds and, naturally, users can transfer their coins to a different wallet if they want to stop using the Signal platform.
The beta test is kicking off with users in the UK; it’s unclear when it will expand to users in other countries. As well, the company’s announcement language indicates that Signal may add support for additional cryptocurrencies in the future, but details on such potential plans weren’t provided.