Although Whatsapp is the most popular messaging app in India, the folks at Facebook are still looking at ways of expanding its reach by dipping into the remittance payments industry in the country.
Bloomberg reported that Facebook has been developing a new coin based of the US Dollar. As per the report, the currency will be rolled out for the Indian WhatsApp users. This will enable Indian users to transfer money to friends and family, both domestically and internationally.
India was one of the highest recipients of remittances with its migrant population sending approximately $80 million back to the country in 2018. WhatsApp aims to break into this sphere with its cryptocurrency facilities in the first half of 2019. Last year, Facebook had indicated that they’d be adding cryptocurrency to their products.
Whatsapp is not the only messaging platform working on releasing cryptocurrency services. Platforms like Signal and Telegram are also developing their digital currencies. The most significant difference between the ever so popular Bitcoin and the coins introduced by these platforms is that unlike Bitcoin, they will have a centralised structure.
Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrencies haven’t been accepted by the masses due to the technical ambiguity surrounding them.
However, implementation of this new coin can be challenging for Whatsapp. Last year WhatsApp Pay was introduced in India; however, it’s rollout was delayed due to issues surrounding RBI’s data localisation norms. Moreover, the Indian government is still on the fence about cryptocurrency which adds on to the difficulty of introducing the new coin. Last April, RBI had gone as far as banning banks from providing services to crypto businesses.
It is possible the government regulators may set rules such as user scrutiny, reversal of fraudulent transactions and compliance with banking regulations like other payment services. Such requirements would need Facebook to hold some control over the transactions and work hand in hand with third-party developers.