By the looks of it, Facebook will be implementing friends-to-friends payment in the very near future. Users will be able to send money to their friends by using the Facebook Messenger application, which already has the payments code built in. However, no one is able to use it yet.
This hidden feature has been discovered by Andrew Aude, a student of Stanford University. By using Cycript, which is a helpful application exploration tool for developers, he stumbled upon a piece of code hinting at person-to-person monetary transactions.
“I first found it a month ago with Jonathan Zdziarski’s security research into Facebook Messenger,” Andrew Aude mentions. After seeing a screenshot posted by Zdziarski which hinted at mobile payments, Mr. Aude went digging and uncovered a fully developed application waiting to be opened up to the public.
Interesting to note is the fact that the application itself definitely hints at using debit cards for sending money to your friends. After taking a look at the application code however, Mr. Aude noticed several lines of source code mentioning Paypal. Whether or not Paypal will be a possible payment method remains unknown at this point in time, but it is a possibility.
A lot of Facebook users will be pleased to know that, once this friend-to-friend payment option is enabled, sending or receiving money will NOT show up on your Facebook timeline. No one wants their financial transactions disclosed on their timeline, do they?
On top of that, it looks like payments between multiple parties could be enabled in the future as well. Even though the application itself is not available to the public, it very well may never see the light of day. Facebook could always decide to kill the application entirely.
Should the friend-to-friend payment option become a reality though, the question becomes whether or not Bitcoin will ever be a supported payment method or not? As Facebook already has a Multicoin Tipping application, which supports Bitcoin, Litecoin, DogeCoin and a lot of other digital currencies, it doesn’t seem to be a bridge too far to see these coins appear in the friend-to-friend payment feature.
If Facebook would enable Bitcoin as a payment option for this feature, there might be an interesting partnership on the horizon with the likes of BitPay or CoinBase. As users want to send fiat currency to one another (from what we can tell at this point), the Bitcoins have to be converted to fiat currency as well.