Yes, you read that right – popular instant messaging channel WhatsApp is almost ready to launch support for cryptocurrency payments, thanks to an innovative integration with the Wuabit wallet, which will be accessible via chat thanks to its advanced bot technology.
According to a report on Coingape.com, users will need to add the bot as a ‘contact’ on the WhatsApp list, after which they’ll be able to send messages to the Waubit Bot in order to execute cryptocurrency transfers. An example of what it might look like is presented by Coingape as follows:
“‘Send 0.1 BTC to John’ will be accepted by the bot, and 0.1 BTC will be transferred from the Wuabit Wallet of the sender to the Wuabit BTC wallet of the receiver. Wuabit will also allow accessing current and future blockchain services from any chat app at market prices to smart-contracts.”
The transaction would require the same Wallet Application on both the devices, so the recipient would also need to be running Waubit on Whatsapp.
Given this constraint, the solution is far from a fully-fledged, universal Bitcoin payment system, but nonetheless is an important milestone in the move to take cryptocurrency mainstream and is likely to pave the way for more such systems to emerge, and could certainly help cryptocurrency to challenge the grip that traditional mobile banking apps and other facilities such as Paypal have, as far as personal payments are concerned.
Of course, such technology is not without its security risks, in particular the fact that cryptocurrencies will always be held in hot wallets and, if you are logged in to WhatsApp, there is a risk of cashing out your wallet. Ultimately, the better practices you adopt as far as your digital behaviour goes, the safer you and your funds will be – and that is equally true of any online financial system.
With a public Beta phase expected to go live in April 2019, we are looking forward to seeing what early users will have to say about the system.