The Signal app is going to incorporate what it describes as a way to bring the same ease of use and security it offers its users and their payments.
Signal plans to launch the possibility for its users to send money in the form of cryptocurrency to each other within the rapidly growing encrypted communications network. To do this, it has built-in support for cryptocurrency MobileCoin, a form of digital cash register designed to work effectively on mobile devices, while protecting users' privacy and even anonymity. For now, payment will only be available to users in the UK and only to iOS and Android and not to the desktop. The new feature represents an experiment that hopes to focus on protecting the privacy of millions of users, something that Signal hopes to eventually expand around the world.
Ο Moxie marlinspike, the creator of Signal and CEO of the non-profit organization that manages it, describes the new payment function as an attempt to extend Signal's privacy to payments, offering the same seamless experience it offers for encrypted conversations.
Unlike payment features that are integrated into other messaging applications such as WhatsApp or iMessage, which usually link a user's bank account, Signal wants to provide a way of sending money that no one other than the sender and recipient can track. Financial institutions regularly sell their users' personal transaction data to marketing companies and advertisers or hand it over to law enforcement. As with many cryptocurrencies, their protection against fraud and counterfeiting is based on a blockchain, which in many cases can reveal who sent money to whom.
So Signal was looking for a cryptocurrency that protects privacy and bypasses banks and is specifically designed to protect users' identities and payment details on a blockchain.
The choice of MobileCoin is not surprising. MobileCoin only started trading as a currency with real value only in December last year. It is currently available for sale on a single cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, which does not allow US users to trade, although Goldbard says there is no reason US stock exchanges should not be able to list the currency for trading as well. Signal has chosen to partially develop MobileCoin integration in the UK because cryptocurrency cannot yet be purchased by users in the US.
In this way, Signal plans to make its users' transactions more secure, so that they do not have to worry about their privacy.