Ambitious cryptocurrency MobileCoin has raised $11.35 million in two rounds of venture funding from Future Ventures and General Catalyst, Tech Crunch reports.
With previous technical backing from Signal creator Moxie Marlinspike, MobileCoin may now be poised to make an appearance on the private messaging app owned by the unorthodox software guru.
As reported by Tech Crunch, Marlinspike and MobileCoin have remained media-shy about what this latest step means. Speculation is rife, however, that MobileCoin may be seeking heavy exposure on Signal to boost the currency’s value.
An estimated 40 million people currently use the Signal platform, giving MobileCoin great potential to expand its reach.
The promise of MobileCoin
MobileCoin is determined to find solutions to many of the common problems faced by today’s cryptocoin users.
Simplicity is one of its main objectives, recognising that the complexity of blockchain’s tech and system is a big turn-off for many potential users and merchants. The company promises fast, user-friendly and intuitive ‘digital cash’ trading via phone.
Almost-instant phone transactions also focus on protecting the privacy of payments, the company’s website claims.
MobileCoin: Problems in practice
As Tech Crunch points out, it’s not quite as easy as it looks. There are clear risks when storing cryptocurrencies on a phone. If the phone happens to be lost, left unlocked or hacked, the entire value of the coinage could be lost.
Despite strong security and permissions, it happens. Yet MobileCoin also spruiks easy wallet recovery in the event of loss or theft—without having to give a provider your private keys.
The genuine security of phone trading, in practice, remains to be seen.
Crypto and messaging: A bad marriage?
If MobileCoin becomes the accepted way to transact on Signal, the implications are huge.
Yet Tech Crunch notes that cryptocurrency and messaging apps don’t have a great track record of integration.
Following Kik Messenger’s battles with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), back in the day, major messaging app Telegram—also experiencing pushback from the authorities—gave up on plans to establish its own cryptocurrency designed for smartphone use.
Nothing has come through from Facebook either, despite a stated intention to launch a digital coin backed by the dollar.
The future remains unclear, with indications in December 2020 that MobileCoin might be planning to operate outside the US—avoiding the all-too-familiar conflict with the SEC.
So watch this space!