India is one of the top receivers of remittances after it has set a record of sending $80 billion back in the hometown in the year 2018 and this fact being considered, WhatsApp, an end to end encrypted texting platform, has plans to target that market through a launch of cryptocurrency in 2019, first half. As Facebook has already remained in the buzz last year for talking about incorporating bitcoins into their products, the current news didn’t come as much as a surprise to the people.
Remittance payments, a multi-billion-dollar industry through which NRIs transfer an amount to their family members in the country where their family resides. A huge migrant population can benefit through this feature as cryptocurrencies can make the transaction an easy one and will also make it cost effective by charging a lesser fee unlike the legacy financial system.
Facebook is reportedly about to develop a digital currency marked under the US Dollar. It will be the WhatsApp users in India (over 200 million), to which the digital currency will first be rolled out to, letting them to send or transfer money to their respective friends and family members, both domestically and internationally. However apart from WhatsApp, other messaging platforms are also planning to roll-out their cryptocurrencies. In fact, Telegram and Signal have are also about to release their respective digital coins. As a matter of fact, the coins which are being launched by WhatsApp and various texting platforms will be centralised unlike Bitcoin which is decentralised.
Even though, WhatsApp couldn’t really launch its payment business- WhatsApp Pay successfully in India. WhatsApp Pay despite being launched in India in May, last year it rolls out has been delayed due to various issues related to RBI’s data localisation norms. Indian government is nevertheless currently in the process of preparing crypto regulation. Despite the fact that RBI had issued a ban on banks from providing services to crypto business some exchanges have literally brought in solutions to the banking problem by the launch of exchange-escrowed peer-peer services.
Facebook might just not like the government regulations that could be laid before them. It might ask Facebook to reverse fraudulent transaction and work according to the banking rules or to scrutinize users. Things like these might require Facebook to have enough right and control over the payments being made and acts of the third-party developers.
Though there has been privacy and legal issues but the only brand that actually carry this off is Facebook. It just doesn’t have the reach but also the money to make a big deal out of this. Nevertheless, the collection of the chips from the billion dollars a year remittance can be a real push and great motivation to do so.