Private 'Vanishing' Messaging App Wiper Adds Bitcoin Wallet
The social messaging app Wiper added a built-in bitcoin wallet last month, enabling instant transactions among contacts, as well as basic wallet functionality.
Wiper is most often compared to SnapChat, but unlike that popular app, it isn't entirely focused on vanishing messages. Wiper, unlike SnapChat, doesn't delete messages by default. Instead, users can decide when to delete messages from both their phones and the recipient's phone.
Adding a bitcoin wallet in the app couldn't be simpler. Hit a few buttons, set a four digit pass code, write down the backup phrase and you are good to go. It isn't the most full featured wallet and probably shouldn't be used to hold a significant amount of money as it doesn't, for example, have two factor authentication (2FA) or multisignature support.
It does, however, have an option to anonymize transactions: “Always,” “Never” or “After Wipe,” but it isn't clear what method they use to do this, as the anonymity disappears after it is submitted to the blockchain. More than likely, it simply means that all records of the transaction are deleted from the recipient's and sender's phones and Wiper's own servers. Any transaction can still be visibly seen on the blockchain.
Sending bitcoin was as easy as finding a contact that has Wiper installed and sending another user an amount, denominated in the currency of my choice.
Bitcoins move quickly on the app as I was able to send money to a Wiper account from my Circle account without issues. It showed up without any confirmations and I was then able to send that bitcoin to another Wiper account instantly, before the first transaction had a single confirmation. For obvious reasons, I couldn't send bitcoin to outside accounts until my transactions had confirmed.
I tested using the Wiper app to make purchases after the transaction confirmed, and found it to be just as quick as any other mobile wallet I have tried.
One minor UI complaint: While each transaction displayed a transaction ID and the “To” and “From” BTC addresses, there was no way to copy the text on the screen. It is a minor gripe, but it makes checking on a transaction more difficult since it requires manual typing in of the transaction ID in a block explorer.
Overall, Wiper really showcases how Bitcoin can be used in a social messaging app. It isn't difficult to imagine splitting a bill at a restaurant with friends and using Wiper to settle the debt. No more QR-codes or random addresses. Just simply click your friend's name and choose how much you want to send.
In addition to vanishing text, video and audio messages, Wiper also alerts senders if the recipient takes a screen shot of their message, offers encrypted app-to-app calling (and keeps no call logs itself), and YouTube sharing.
Essentially, it wants to be your all-in-one messaging, social and now with bitcoin, payment app, and is providing a decent level of security and privacy to sweeten the pot. Wiper has been downloaded on the Google Play app between one million and five million times. Numbers for the Apple App store are not publicly available.
Those numbers are pretty impressive for an app that just launched this past summer. While their user numbers are dwarfed by apps like Whatsapp and SnapChat, it is still a rapidly growing app with a significant amount of seed capital behind it. Perhaps Bitcoin adoption will help it stand out.
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