Coinbase announced modifications to its decentralized Wallet product with the aim of enhancing user experience and simplifying the service. Among these changes, a notable addition is a feature enabling Wallet users to send funds using a simple text message via platforms such as Telegram, WhatsApp, or any other capable of transmitting a link.
This texting capability is part of a broader initiative by the cryptocurrency giant to make Coinbase Wallet, a decentralized offering distinct from the custodial wallet used on its exchange, more accessible to a wider audience. Chintan Turakhia, the head of Coinbase Wallet, explained in an interview with Fortune that the text-based money transfer aligns with the company’s vision of “economic freedom,” including the ability for users to send the USDC stablecoin to each other without incurring any fees.
While users can already send USDC on Coinbase Wallet at no cost, they traditionally need to know the recipient’s wallet address. The new texting feature eliminates this requirement, making it more convenient to add funds when sending money to friends or family in other countries.
For recipients of USDC via text, the link opens directly in Coinbase Wallet. If the recipient doesn’t have the app installed, they receive a one-click prompt to install it and claim their money. If unopened after two weeks, the funds revert to the sender. Notably, Coinbase Wallet places control over private keys with the user, exempting it from the typical “know your customer” process. Coinbase clarified that users have ultimate control over their funds, and the company’s primary response to bad actors is blocking Coinbase Wallet usage in sanctioned regions.
Coinbase has also introduced a “simple mode” for Coinbase Wallet, streamlining the service to its core functions of sending and receiving money. The new messaging feature extends beyond USDC, allowing Coinbase Wallet users to send Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, albeit with potential network fees exceeding the transaction value, unless utilizing a layer-2 blockchain.
Additionally, Coinbase announced support for fiat on-ramps in over 130 countries, facilitating the movement of money in and out of the crypto ecosystem. The combination of expanded access and the user-friendly messaging service aims to boost crypto’s popularity as a swift cross-border payment solution—an industry goal that has been slow to materialize.