Wisly Wednesday Industry News — 15 December 2021
With the festive season in full swing, it’s been another fascinating week in the world of crypto, with some interesting developments that are sure to raise eyebrows amongst crypto enthusiasts. WhatsApp launches crypto payments in the US; Nuvei partners with VISA to release crypto-friendly debit cards; Shadow Myanmar government recognises Tether as official currency; and Switzerland’s biggest online bank launches crypto exchange.
WhatsApp launches crypto payments in the US
December certainly has got better for WhatsApp users in the US as a selected few will be allowed to send and receive crypto within their WhatsApp chat. The new crypto payment feature will be powered by Novi, Meta’s latest digital wallet.
All crypto payments can be made using Pax Dollars (USDP) — a stablecoin pegged to the US Dollar — that is issued by the financial services company Paxos. USDP is regulated by the New York State Department of financial services.
Stephane Kasriel of Novi made the announcement via Twitter as he said, “Starting today, a limited number of people in the US will be able to send and receive money using Novi on @WhatsApp, making sending money to family and friends as easy as sending a message.”
WhatsApp’s Will Cathcart followed up with a tweet of his own that said, “People use WA[Whatsapp] to coordinate sending money to loved ones, and now Novi will help them do that securely, instantly and with no fees.” He further explained that since Novi’s launch, they have been able to test and learn which features and functionalities are most important to users.
WhatsApp users can select the paper clip icon to access the feature and then choose the Payment option on the menu. Payments will be made instantly, and there will be no limits to the number of payments made.
Novi will not charge users any fees to maintain account balances or to transfer funds to a bank account. Moreover, this feature will not affect WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption. While there has been no official news of who exactly qualifies to use this feature, it appears that those WhatsApp users in the US that are registered with Novi could be the lucky few.
Wisly will keep you up to date with the very latest on this.
Nuvei partners with VISA to release crypto-friendly debit cards
Global payment technology partner, Nuvei, has partnered with global payments giant, VISA, to release crypto-friendly debit cards. Through its subsidiary Simplex — a fintech company that offers fiat infrastructure to the crypto industry — Nuvei will allow partner firms to use crypto in places where VISA is accepted.
The crypto-friendly debit cards are planned to roll out to its partners in the UK as well as the European Economic Area, and Nuvei will use its EMI licence and VISA Principal Membership to make this possible.
CEO of Nuvei — Philip Fayer — was delighted at achieving such an important milestone as he said, “The branded VISA debit card is a huge asset to our partners and their users. Enabling the immediate and seamless spending of crypto earnings.” He explained that with this initiative, VISA plays a crucial role in growing the crypto industry — a move that has taken massive strides in closing the gap between crypto and traditional finance.
VISA’s Crypto Solutions Director for Europe — Nikola Plecas — was in an equally buoyant mood as he piped, “Awareness of cryptocurrencies has increased significantly amongst consumers across Europe, resulting in increased adoption as more people look to access crypto.” He expressed his delight in being part of such a historic project while also strengthening VISA’s partnership with Nuvei.
Thrilling news indeed, and Wisly will keep you posted on the very latest with this story.
Myanmar’s shadow government recognises Tether as official currency
In a fascinating development in the Far East, Myanmar’s shadow government, The National Unity Government (NUG) — led by former leader Aung San Suu Kyi — has officially recognised Tether as an official currency in the country.
In a surprise announcement on Monday by NUG’s finance minister — Tin Tun Naing — he said that Tether will now be available for domestic use to make it easy and speed up the current trade, services and payment systems. The NUG lost state power in February this year and fails to control any territory in the country — leading to a declaration of war on the current military government.
This latest move of embracing Tether as official currency is another clear rejection of the political authority claimed by Myanmar’s military government. While the Central Bank of Myanmar last year deemed all cryptocurrencies illegal in the country, the NUG appears to have made a u-turn in an effort to fund its operations — such drama!
Although not as structured as El Salvador’s crypto adoption earlier this year, the NUG hopes that the official introduction of Tether into their economy can revive their organisation’s efforts and attract more people to its cause. Watch this space for the very latest on this from Wisly.
Switzerland’s biggest online bank launches crypto exchange
The biggest online bank in Switzerland, Swissquote, has announced exciting plans to launch its very own crypto exchange before the middle of 2022. The bank has shown a great willingness to facilitate trade in cryptocurrencies through its platform due to the crypto rush that has overwhelmed its customer service and compliance teams.
CEO of Swissquote — Marc Buerki — recently remarked that traditional banks have panicked in recent times, and those who are now warming to cryptocurrencies are a bit late to the party. However, all is not lost as the bank has great ambitions to be the leading provider of digital assets in the pristine European country.
In an effort to spearhead the crypto industry in Switzerland, Swissquote also wants to expand its crypto offering — including stablecoin and staking services. The demand for crypto in Switzerland has steadily risen, with the Swiss Stock Exchange recently launching a fully-licenced crypto exchange — SDX — to cater for crypto enthusiasts.
The sales manager of Swissquote — Jan de Schepper — was excited about the launch of the crypto platform in the first part of 2022 and said, “We want to enable more trading in various cryptocurrencies on the platform.” This is fantastic news for the region as the crypto wave continues to gather momentum. Wisly will keep you informed on the very latest with this.