Messaging services and cryptocurrencies: What fits together on paper because of the anonymity requirement alone, has not been able to write a success story in practice so far. Facebook’s cryptocurrency, which has been renamed Diem, has so far Bitcoin Trader fallen foul of the regulators. All the more surprising, then, are the rumours about the new star in the messaging sky: Signal.
Alongside the well-known messaging services WhatsApp and Telegram, the anonymous messenger Signal is currently experiencing a hype. As Platfomer editor Casey Newton has learned from internal sources, the number of users has risen from 20 to currently 40 million in just one month. The growth is primarily due to new guidelines at the competitor WhatsApp. WhatsApp users were given an ultimatum. If they did not agree to the guidelines, which allow companies to send messages to users in future, in an original version by 8 February, the app was to be deactivated.
Although Facebook has already postponed the entry into force of the new regulations until May, the move triggered a wave of indignation. Since then, users have increasingly turned to alternatives that still emphasise the anonymity requirement – such as Signal.
The Signal app is likely to experience a further growth spurt if what is currently still doing the rounds as a rumour proves to be true. The integration of cryptocurrency in the messaging services is allegedly being prepared in the background. Although still denied by the official side, according to Casey Newton, the personnel of Marlinspike, CEO of Signal Messenger LLC, speaks in favour of this.
Marlinspike has served as an advisor to MobileCoin, a cryptocurrency built on the Stellar blockchain that aims to make payments easy and secure – and potentially impossible to track.
Crypto integration, he says, is the logical next step. Although Marlinspike is still playing it cool and only admits that „design explorations“ have been carried out with a possible crypto connection, former employees are said to have confirmed concrete plans to Newton. For example, considerable „engineering resources“ are said to have been spent on MobileCoin integration in recent quarters. What is true about the rumours will probably become clear in the coming months.
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