- Signal is now testing a new mobile payments system based on its own blockchain.
- The new feature is promising easy and fast transactions that are totally private.
- The system is still in the beta phase, so it may be a while before seeing it rolled out on stable.
The latest beta build of Signal is introducing the pilot testing of ‘MobileCoin,’ the project’s new payment system, which comes with its own currency, the ‘MOB.’ The Signal team is inviting users to test out the new system and provide their feedback, helping in the making of a fast, truly private, and reliable across a wide range of devices feature. Of course, we should clarify that MobileCoin is a prototype right now, so not working perfectly is only natural at this point.
The new payments system is open source and hosted on Github, so it can be scrutinized by anyone out there, forked, copied, etc. As a system, it has no central authority, and it keeps all transaction records in a blockchain data structure for confirmation purposes. There is extensive use of cryptography to establish ownership of assets, control transfers, and preserve cash-like privacy for users.
For more details about how the transactions work and how records are stored in the public ledger, check out this page. There, you will also find some information about how the Ring Confidential Transactions method is deployed to effectively conceal the amounts. To learn how MobileCoin uses Intel SGX to provide integrity in Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT) consensus as well as forward secrecy to secure your privacy, check this page.
If that’s too much for you and you just want to learn what this new feature will bring for the users, we would say that it’s a new option to link an online wallet to Signal and start sending funds to friends and family, and also receive money from them. Checking the balance and reviewing previous transactions will also be possible right from the mobile device, but the way the system is set up, Signal doesn’t have any access to that data.
Even if you decide that Signal is no longer for you and you want to jump to another IM platform, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to forfeit the money you’re holding on the ‘MobileCoin’ wallet. Signal will let users freely transfer their funds at any time onto another app or service, something that we very rarely see in the industry.
All in all, it could take Signal a while with the testing of MobileCoin, and we have no way to tell what the timeline for this to reach the stable branch is. If things don’t go as planned, it could even be scraped, although this is extremely unlikely at this point.