Coinbase Wallet has added a new feature that allows users to transfer crypto through a link that can be sent through popular messaging apps like Telegram and WhatsApp, the company announced on Tuesday in a blog post.
This feature makes it easier for users to send crypto to friends and family, even if they are not tech-savvy. In particular, no payment fee is required when sending USDC, a stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar that Coinbase co-launched in 2018 with Circle Internet Financial.
With this new feature, users can send USDC without needing to know the recipient’s wallet address on various networks, with no fees on networks like Arbitrum, Avax, Base, Optimism and Polygon. This makes it significantly easier when sending funds internationally.
Upon receiving the USDC by text, recipients can open the link directly within Coinbase Wallet. For those without the app, a one-click prompt guides them to install Coinbase Wallet and claim their funds. Unclaimed funds automatically return to the sender after two weeks.
Coinbase touts the texting feature as a solution to the complexities and delays of international bank wire transfers, which often involve hefty fees, paperwork and processing times of up to five business days.
It is also part of Coinbase’s broader initiative to enhance the usability of Coinbase Wallet, its decentralized product separate from the custodial exchange wallet. In an interview with Fortune, Coinbase Wallet’s head, Chintan Turakhia, emphasized the texting feature’s role in realizing the company’s vision of “economic freedom.”
However, sending Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through the feature may incur network fees. In some cases, the fee could surpass the transaction value. Alternatively, users can opt for layer-2 blockchain transactions, but this might introduce additional complexity.
Send money anywhere you can send a link.
Easily. Instantly. For free.
— Coinbase Wallet 🛡️📞 (@CoinbaseWallet) December 5, 2023
Decision to waive transaction fees for USDC
Coinbase’s decision to waive transaction fees for USDC was not without reason. In August, Coinbase acquired a minority stake in Circle Internet Financial, the issuer of USDC. This move involved dissolving the Centre Consortium partnership, with Circle assuming full control over USDC issuance and governance. At the same time, USDC expanded its native support to six more blockchains, bringing the total to 15.
According to Coindesk, stablecoins have emerged as a pivotal innovation in the crypto landscape, with millions of users globally. Although Tether, operating offshore, remains the dominant player with a market cap of $89 billion (according to CoinMarketCap), USDC is steadily gaining ground.
As the stablecoin market transitions towards regulated options and broader adoption, Jeremy Allaire, founder of Circle Internet Financial, is confident that USDC’s transparency, liquidity and adherence to regulatory standards will position it favorably.
“The scale of adoption of USDC in the broader digital economy will be orders of magnitudes larger than it is now,” he said.
“We hope to become one of the most important internet-scale utilities and networks in the world… Over 75 percent of all USDC in circulation is held in digital wallets and smart contracts.”
Other new features from Coinbase
Coinbase is dedicated to bridging the gap and empowering people globally to participate in the crypto economy, particularly in regions facing high inflation and limited access to stable currencies.
This is why Coinbase Wallet enables local fiat on-ramps in over 130 countries. This integration allows users to purchase digital assets using popular payment methods tailored to their region, such as Pix in Brazil, Instant P2P Bank in Nigeria and GCash in the Philippines, facilitating seamless entry into the cryptoeconomy and access to stablecoins.
Coinbase Wallet is also introducing a “simple mode” within the app, reducing the interface to essential functions like sending and receiving crypto. This pared-down mode caters to new crypto users who may find the standard wallet interface intimidating initially.
The new Coinbase Wallet features will be rolled out progressively starting on Tuesday and will be available to all users by the end of the week.
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