According to a company statement, Coinbase Wallet users can now send money by sharing a link in any app, including messengers like WhatsApp and Telegram, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, SMS, and even email.
When the recipient opens the link, it will either take them to the Coinbase Wallet app to claim the funds, or ask them to download it in order to do so. If the funds are not claimed within 2 weeks, they will automatically be returned to the sender. Some users have questioned whether this process is decentralized or if it goes through Coinbase servers.
“Sending money is now as easy as sending a text, direct message, or email—wherever you already connect with friends and family.”
Coinbase had previously offered the ability to send funds to a recipient's phone number using pretty much the same technique. It appears that this new feature simply allows users to copy and paste the link themselves instead of Coinbase sending it directly to the recipient via SMS.
Another feature being introduced is a simple mode in Coinbase Wallet. The optional operation method allows beginners to focus on essential functions like buying, sending, receiving, and storing assets.
“By reducing complexity and fees while expanding global access, we're enabling millions of people to engage with the crypto economy in meaningful ways.”
Coinbase has claimed that crypto could help save people in the U.S. billions of dollars a year in remittance fees, as it can be over 96% cheaper than a traditional transfer. The new features aim to make crypto payments accessible to a broader audience. Although the feature doesn’t present anything fundamentally new, the move could quickly grow the exchange's user base without requiring much extra effort. Existing users will act as promoters, with the simple mode hopefully encouraging newcomers to stick around.
Coinbase has also stated that there are zero fees on USDC transfers, which might give the stablecoin a significant competitive edge. USD Coin, co-launched by Coinbase and Circle in 2018, is currently the second largest stablecoin after USDT by market capitalisation. It should be noted, however, that some users have claimed that the Coinbase app won't let them make the transfer without enough ETH for commission.
Connecting crypto to messaging apps that have become integral to our everyday lives is not a novel idea. We have previously seen Telegram Messenger introduce the TON Space self-custodial wallet, which, aside from allowing the management of digital assets, also promises blockchain-based apps within Messenger's user interface.
Many fiat money-transfer companies already offer similar services, but no other major crypto exchange currently supports transferring funds via link. We may Observe a wave of such functionality if Coinbase's move pays dividends.