Signal Is Testing Letting You Send Cryptocurrency to Friends


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Currently in beta, Signal Payments lets you send privacy-focused payments as easily as sending or receiving a message.


The encrypted messaging service Signal is testing a new privacy-preserving cryptocurrency payments feature in its iPhone and Android apps that would permit people to send money to one another with MobileCoin, which has its own currency, dubbed MOB.

Signal Picks Privacy-Preserving MobileCoin

According to the announcement on the Signal website, the feature has rolled out to users in the UK, but the company wouldn’t say when cryptocurrency payments will be available to everyone. The new feature is also not present in the desktop app.

If you’re in the UK and have the latest Signal app, you’ll see a prompt to use the new feature. Simply link your MobileCoin wallet after you buy some on the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, and you’ll be able to send MOB to other Signal users with a linked wallet.

The company explains how the new feature works:

Signal Payments makes it easy to link a MobileCoin wallet to Signal so you can start sending funds to friends and family, receive funds from them, keep track of your balance, and review your transaction history with a simple interface. As always, our goal is to keep your data in your hands rather than ours; MobileCoin’s design means Signal does not have access to your balance, full transaction history, or funds.

For those wondering, your MOBs are not locked in the app—at any time, you can transfer your funds to another app or service. “If you want to give it a spin and let us know what you think, it’s possible to convert to/from MOB on FTX and other exchanges soon.”

Related: A Guide to Cryptocurrency Wallets and Exchanges

According to its GitHub repo, MobileCoin is an open-source cryptocurrency that uses its own privacy-focused payments network. The GitHub page also confirms that the MobileCoin Wallet, required to send these payments back and forth, is not yet available for download or use by US customers.

To learn more about MOB, visit the official MobileCoin website.

Privacy-Focused Crypto Payments

Signal underscores that all MOB payments made through its platform are totally private.

In an interview with Wired, Signal’s creator Moxie Marlinspike said that he would like to get to a world “where not only can you feel that when you talk to your therapist over Signal, but also when you pay your therapist for the session over Signal.”

He went on to explain that even though Bitcoin offers better privacy than sending money from a bank institution, it’s still possible to be tracked.

Related: Crypto Scams You Need to Know Before Buying Bitcoin

The reason Marlinspike’s picked MobileCoin to power the Signal Payments feature is that, in his view, it provides the best experience on mobile devices as it “requires little storage space on the phone and needs only seconds for transactions to be confirmed.”

Signal is widely praised as one of the most secure messaging apps with a vast array of privacy and security features. Adding the ability to make secure mobile payments between users via MobileCoin may just give it an edge over rival apps like Telegram.

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