Wuabit to Bring Crypto to WhatsApp, Is in Talks With Investors
Spain-based independent startup Wuabit aims to launch limited public beta of its crypto wallet for popular messaging app WhatsApp in April, the company’s co-founder and CEO/CTO Manuel Polo told Cryptonews.com.
Moreover, in mid-April, the startup will announce its roadmap in more detail as it plans to offer the same service to the users of other messaging apps such as Telegram and Facebook Messenger. Also, Wuabit aims to support sending and receiving cryptocurrencies through SMS.
Wuabit will be available through a chat interface within WhatsApp, and it is described as a “software agent” powered by specialized AI (artificial intelligence) - in essence, a chatbot. According to the latest available data, Whatsapp, which is reportedly working on its own stablecoin, had 1.5 billion users in the end of 2017.
The co-founder said that users will be able to send and receive cryptocurrencies simply by chatting with the AI and writing commands such as “send,” “receive,” “balance,” and others. Safety is key, said Polo: “The chatbot may ask for a password to allow, and send a OTP (one time passcode) to another channel (user's phone via SMS, or third party extra).” But if you make a simple writing mistake, there’s no need to worry, he adds: “When you mistype or write something not in the trained brain of the chatbot, it simply will let you know.”
Other apps which will support Wuabit include Telegram, which Polo says is “almost ready,” as well as SMS and Facebook Messenger. As for cryptocurrencies, users will have to make do with Bitcoin in the beginning. However, while in beta, the initial testing is going to be on the Bitcoin testnet and will use BTCt which has no value.
The project is first launching an MVP (minimum viable product), which is privately funded - but Polo told us that they’re in talks with private investors to secure more funding.
“We are a 4 people team but that's expanding now,” he said. Keeping the project going will not be done solely through dipping into investments - Wuabit is expected to start paying for itself at some point.
“There will be premium services, and some fees in the service,” Polo said without specifying.
Still, Facebook, owner of Whatsapp, and Telegram may not even be aware of this new service that is coming. “We have no talks with [them], only using their API [application programming interface] integrations available now,” Polo explained. This is similar to users building apps for the Android operating system - there is no need to contact the phone manufacturer or anyone else for permission, and the app is not necessarily endorsed by the platform it appears on.
Regulatory issues, however, are another beast entirely, but Polo is confident that there is nothing to worry about. “It depends on local country laws regarding money transmitting, but since we don't hold balances or user funds (all is math on the fly) we are safeguarded. Despite this, we plan to have money license to expand to more appealing services,” he explained.
In September 2018, when the company first introduced the idea of the Wuabit walet, they said that all conversations are encrypted end-to-end, from your phone to our backend servers, the backend servers does not store private keys and are not publicly available, while "almost 100% of funds are offline in a cold wallet" and "only the required operational amount will be in a hot wallet in the backend servers."
Meanwhile, Wuabit is not the only crypto project that brings cryptocurrencies closer to masses via existing popular channels. Recently, developer Sergio Abril launched Tippin, a new app for or Chrome and Firefox browsers that lets you tip a certain tweet with Bitcoin. It already has more than 4,300 users on Chrome and 362 users on Firefox.