In a bid to simplify the crypto trading process and bring virtual currencies closer to everyone, Whatsapp users can now buy and sell bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC) right via the same app. This is thanks to a newly released bot Lite.Im. Created by the Zulu Republican, this bot will also allow transactions in the organization’s local token ETH and ZTX.
Owned by Facebook, Whatsapp is currently the most popular mobile messaging platform with over 1.5 billion users across the globe. According to Lite.Im, social messaging is a vital component of the wider cryptocurrency adoption. Just like mobile money transactions, Whatsapp crypto trading is meant to attract the unbanked and underbanked people and bring them closer to different payment channels. People, especially the younger generation are spending more time texting both in one-on-one and group chats, and less time scrolling through endless feeds and timelines. So, why not make it more fun by integrating the most important technology?
While crypto trading on Whatsapp as well as other instant messengers is fast gaining popularity in the market, users can’t stop asking one important question; is this safe? Can you trust a chatbot with your bitcoin wallet? This article explores the Whatsapp crypto trading functionality and its possible risk factors.
How it Works
Sending and receiving bitcoin via WhatsApp has been made very simple. You simply need to install the Lite.Im WhatsApp bot and then follow the on-screen prompts. Besides sending and receiving, the service allows users to earn cryptocurrency through a referral program. Other options are also available such as allowing users to select a password, preferred language, and even set their default coin.
WhatsApp Security Concerns
Smartphones are the most vulnerable devices when it comes to hacking. As such, trading cryptocurrencies on WhatsApp using a smartphone may not be a smart move. Even WhatsApp itself isn’t as dependable as it doesn’t come with security features such as Two-factor Authentication, which is standard with crypto wallets. Instead, the best WhatsApp can use to block unwanted access is face unlock or fingerprints. However, the two of them are greatly insecure in the crypto world. Just recently, WhatsApp faced a major vulnerability that left people questioning its ability to protect their bitcoin wallets.
It only took one phone call
In early May this year, WhatsApp and its mother company Facebook, revealed that they had faced a major vulnerability. Hackers were able to secretly install spyware on Android and iOS phones using a simple WhatsApp call. Developed by NSO Group- a secretive Israel spyware company, the spyware has the ability to allow hackers full access to your phone remotely. They will, therefore, be able to read messages, activate the camera, and even see your contacts.
The malicious code could be transmitted whether or not one answers their phones, and the calls usually disappeared from call logs. Within minutes of the call, the phone would start revealing its coded content.
As confirmed by WhatsApp, this bug affected a selected number of users and only those who owned the latest version of WhatsApp on iOS and Android were spared. As such, the company urged users to update their apps to the latest version.
A good Number of Users are Clueless
Even after issuing a press statement urging users to update their apps, a number of people have failed to do so. This is according to Wandera, a smartphone company which helps its clients safeguard their employees’ smartphones. The company manages more than 1 million smartphones, and 30% have WhatsApp installed.
Wandera found out that, even after the announcement, 55.4% of Android and 80.2% of iOS smartphones out of its managed phones had not yet been updated.
So, What Next?
As advised by WhatsApp and Facebook Company, it is important to keep updating your app to make it as difficult as possible for hackers to get in. Always turn on auto updates and update your WhatsApp whenever you are offered the option. You can also do it manually. The company also assured users that it is constantly working with industry partners to offer the latest security enhancements that would help protect them.
WhatsApp has also made several changes to its infrastructure in a bid to prevent future attacks. It has also reported the issue to the US law enforcement to help them conduct an investigation.
But, even after all this, investors can’t stop asking the question, is WhatsApp crypto trading safe? Will there be future attacks? Well, considering there was a similar attack last year. Does updating your app really help prevent this menace? Let’s look at another loophole that WhatsApp as a bitcoin trading platform present.
Lack of Privacy
Yes, WhatsApp claims to have implemented end-to-end encryption in 2016, but does that guarantee the safety of our communication? Remember some months back the Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, who is also the owner of WhatsApp found himself in trouble. Concerns were raised across the world accusing Zuckerberg of denying privacy to Facebook users. This led people to question Facebook’s legality on user privacy. And, since WhatsApp is owned by the same company, we can’t help but have similar concerns.
WhatsApp crypto trading is a welcome strategy to simplify cryptocurrency transactions processes. This move will also enable more people to utilize virtual currencies in day-to-day transactions. Now, newcomers in the crypto community who find it hard to follow complicated procedures on websites can now trade with ease using the messaging app. Furthermore, WhatsApp crypto trading will spearhead the global adoption of different coins. Even Facebook is now thinking of releasing its own coin which WhatsApp users can send to family and friends, instantly. The company plans to integrate crypto payments across all its messaging services including WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram.
All these are good thoughts but, the vulnerability of WhatsApp and the other messaging apps still has some people wondering whether or not it is a good idea. The security threats surrounding these apps have to be fully addressed before the crypto market can enjoy fully from the billions of WhatsApp users.