Soon Signal users may be able to exchange money confidentially, in the form of cryptocurrency. The developers of the application have indeed just experimented with the support of MobileCoin cryptocurrency. This function is currently only available to UK users.
MobileCoin was created in 2017, but has only been publicly traded since December 2020, on the FTX marketplace. Like Zcash and Monero, MobileCoin promises complete confidentiality of exchanges. The difference is that these exchanges would be done much faster – in less than 10 seconds – and would require less computer resources. Indeed, MobileCoin uses the protocol of the blockchain of Stellar, where the consensus does not come from a cryptographic proof of work, but relies on the distribution of levels of trust across the nodes of the network (Federated Byzantine Agreement).
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This agreement between Signal and MobileCoin is no accident. The creator of Signal, Moxie Marlinspike, participated in the technical design of this cryptocurrency. Asked by Wired, the founder of the cryptocurrency believes that the support of confidential payments is a logical continuation of the Signal philosophy, which aims to make cryptographic tools accessible to as many people as possible. Some, however, fear that with this functional extension, messaging will sooner or later be confronted with financial regulatory constraints, or even bans.
Sources: Wired, Signal