WhatsApp pilots crypto payments in the US with Novi

A limited number of people will be able to use the digital wallet to make cryptocurrency payments in WhatsApp chats.

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Andrew Blok is a former editor for CNET who covered home energy, with a focus on solar. As an environmental journalist, he navigates the changing energy landscape to help people make smart energy decisions. He's a graduate of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State and has written for several publications in the Great Lakes region, including Great Lakes Now and Environmental Health News, since 2019. You can find him in western Michigan watching birds.
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WhatsApp , the popular messaging app, is rolling out a new way to send and receive money. A limited number of people in the US will be able to exchange cryptocurrency through the digital wallet Novi directly within their WhatsApp chat.

Novi, a project of Meta, the recently rebranded parent company of WhatsApp and Facebook , was piloted on its own in Guatemala and parts of the US earlier this year. The pilot allowed users to make payments with the cryptocurrency pax dollar. Meta continues to work toward launching its own cryptocurrency, diem.

Meta's progress toward launching diem has faced setbacks including opposition from US senators and early backers leaving the project. Novi says that it's still committed to diem and that the cryptocurrency is part of the long-term plans for the digital wallet. 

David Marcus, the outgoing head of Novi, said in a tweet that the WhatsApp pilot "another small step in the right direction," adding that it's "the best farewell gift."

Stephane Kasriel, the incoming head of Novi, called the pilot an "entry point" in a tweet and said that the company will look to expand after receiving feedback.