Encrypted messaging app Signal has begun testing a payments feature that allows users to send cryptocurrency to other users privately.
Signal announced on Tuesday that it is integrating support for MobileCoin for a new peer-to-peer payments system in the beta version of its apps.
The new system called Signal Payments has been launched for beta testing on Android and iOS platforms for United Kingdom-based users only at the current time. Additionally, it only supports MobileCoin’s MOB cryptocurrency, which has been designed to be used on smartphones.
Signal was mulling private crypto payments in January as reported by Cointelegraph. Signal head of growth and communication Jun Harada commented on the privacy features of MobileCoin, stating:
“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. You can also transfer your funds at any time if you want to switch to another app or service.”
Signal creator, Moxie Marlinspike, stated that the new payments feature is an attempt to extend its privacy protections to payments, with the same experience that the app has offered for encrypted conversations.
The announcement comes just days after the news that the personal data of over 530 million Facebook users was posted in a hacking forum.
The company chose MobileCoin over other privacy-focused cryptocurrencies, such as Monero (XMR) or Zcash (ZEC), because it is designed for mobile devices, requires little storage space on the device, and offers high-speed transactions.
MobileCoin was launched in 2017 but only began trading in December 2020. Signal has close ties with the cryptocurrency, with Marlinspike serving as a paid technical adviser for the project since its inception.
MOB is relatively obscure in the world of cryptocurrencies, with no market cap listed on the major coin analytics websites. It can only be traded on the FTX exchange at the time of writing, where daily volume is around $80 million. There is a total supply of 250 million tokens, and it has jumped in price by 14% over the past 24 hours on the announcement, currently trading at $66 according to CoinGecko.
On March 16, Cointelegraph reported that Signal has started accepting crypto donations via 12 different coins as a form of support for the Signal Technology Foundation, the nonprofit organization behind the app.