WhatsApp Enables Crypto Trading for Ethereum and ERC20 Tokens
WhatsApp, the popular messaging app owned by Facebook, has announced a new feature that allows users to trade digital assets such as Ethereum and ERC20 tokens directly from the app. This is the first time that WhatsApp users can exchange cryptocurrencies without leaving the app or using a third-party service.
The new feature is powered by a decentralized protocol called WAXP, which stands for WhatsApp Asset Exchange Protocol. WAXP enables peer-to-peer transactions of digital assets using end-to-end encryption and smart contracts. Users can send and receive Ethereum and ERC20 tokens by simply typing commands in the chat window, such as \"/send 0.1 ETH to Alice\" or \"/request 10 USDT from Bob\".
WhatsApp claims that the new feature is secure, fast, and easy to use. Users do not need to create an account or provide any personal information to use WAXP. They only need to link their existing Ethereum wallet to their WhatsApp account using a QR code. WAXP also supports multiple languages and currencies, and charges low fees for each transaction.
The new feature is currently available in beta for a limited number of users in select countries. WhatsApp plans to roll out the feature globally in the coming months. The company hopes that the new feature will attract more users to its platform and foster the adoption of cryptocurrencies among its 2 billion users.
WAXP is not the first attempt to integrate cryptocurrency trading with messaging apps. In 2018, Telegram launched its own blockchain platform called Telegram Open Network (TON), which aimed to offer a fast and scalable network for decentralized applications and digital assets. However, TON faced regulatory hurdles and legal challenges from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which accused Telegram of conducting an illegal securities offering. Telegram eventually abandoned TON in 2020 and refunded its investors.
WhatsApp's move to enable crypto trading on its app could also face some regulatory scrutiny, especially in countries where cryptocurrencies are banned or restricted. For instance, India, WhatsApp's largest market with over 400 million users, has proposed a bill that would criminalize the possession, issuance, mining, trading, and transfer of cryptocurrencies. WhatsApp has not commented on how it plans to deal with such regulatory issues.