Signal Messaging App Launches MobileCoin Payments Feature in Beta

Yes, but: The feature will only be available to users in the U.K., and only on iOS and Android.

AccessTimeIconApr 6, 2021 at 5:47 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:36 p.m. UTC

Signal, the private messaging app that had a 4,200% increase in downloads in January, is launching a payments feature using mobilecoin (MOB). Signal founder Moxie Marlinspike has been an adviser to the project since 2018.

The goal of MOB, which is based on Stellar blockchain technology, is to be able to work efficiently on mobile devices while also protecting users' privacy. The launch on Signal has long been rumored, dating back to when Facebook announced plans to launch its libra stablecoin in early 2019.

MOB stands out from a pack of messenger-native crypto coins because it has actually launched. Telegram’s TON was nuked by U.S. regulators; Facebook’s libra (now diem) remains in a state of near-completion.

At this time, the MOB payment feature will only be available to users in the U.K., and only on iOS and Android. Desktop support is not included. 

"I'm terrified for Signal," Matthew Green, a cryptographer at Johns Hopkins University who sits on the Zcash Foundation board, told Wired, adding: 

"Signal as an encrypted messaging product is really valuable. Speaking solely as a person who is really into encrypted messaging, it terrifies me that they're going to take this really clean story of an encrypted messenger and mix it up with the nightmare of laws and regulations and vulnerability that is cryptocurrency."

On the other hand, integrating privacy-oriented cryptocurrencies into relatively popular communications apps may give users an attractive onramp and interface to enter into the world of crypto.

In a blog post announcing the launch of the feature in beta, the company said users can link a MOB wallet to Signal, send funds, receive funds, keep track of their balances and review transaction histories.

“As always, our goal is to keep your data in your hands rather than ours; mobile coin’s design means Signal does not have access to your balance, full transaction history, or funds,” Signal wrote. “You can also transfer your funds at any time if you want to switch to another app or service.”

Mobilecoin is currently only trading on FTX. 

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Trending

1
CoinDesk - Unknown
OpenSea Reports Email Data Breach

An employee at an outside contractor tasked with managing OpenSea email newsletters copied the list of customer emails and shared it with an outside party, OpenSea says.

CoinDesk - Unknown
2
CoinDesk - Unknown
Grayscale Sues SEC Over Bitcoin ETF Application Rejection

The SEC rejected Grayscale's application to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust to an exchange-traded fund earlier Wednesday.

CoinDesk - Unknown
3
CoinDesk - Unknown
SEC Rejects Grayscale’s Spot Bitcoin ETF Application

Grayscale has said it was prepared for “all possible post-ruling scenarios."

CoinDesk - Unknown
4
CoinDesk - Unknown
Coinbase is Reportedly Selling Geo-Location Data to ICE

Watchdog group Tech Inquiry reported the new details about Coinbase’s three-year contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

CoinDesk - Unknown