Private messaging app Signal seems to have conducted experiments for a cryptocurrency offering for users, as per a report by technology newsletter Platformer earlier today.
Experiments for such a token project were done on MobileCoin, a privacy cryptocurrency based on Stellar, one of the world’s largest blockchain by market capitalization. Signal CEO Moxie Marlinspike served as an adviser to MobileCoin, showing how the two projects could have overlapped.
Signal is the leading app of the Signal Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to open-source privacy technology. It offers end-to-end message encryption to its 40 million users. It means that any transferred data can only be read by the sender and receiver, and no other service/app on the phone can access or decipher it.
And as per Platformer, employees say that signal is “actively exploring” the use of a cryptocurrency within the platform. Such an offering would be in line with Facebook’s own payment services and the use of electronic payments on WeChat, biggest messaging app in China.
But despite the murmurs, Marlinspike has not confirmed such development, at least in the near future. He acknowledged the firm did play around with integrating MobileCoin within Signal, but nothing beyond that.
“If we did decide we wanted to put payments into Signal, we would try to think really carefully about how we did that. It’s hard to be totally hypothetical,” Marlinspike said.
His concerns come on the back of problems emerging amidst Signal’s growth story. The app has, so far, sailed forward on the waves of privacy, encryption, and cryptography, but new features have attracted criticism from users and employees alike.
One such concern happened during the US elections last year. On Signal, anonymous users can forward group “invites” for chat rooms as large as 1,000 people. This, theoretically, means users could propagate or plan acts of violence while their identity remains unknown (as not even Signal may know the identity of a user unless they voluntarily give it out).
Facebook is itself tinkering with Novi, an upcoming digital currency pegged to the USD. But Signal may be coming as competition for that, as well.