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Signal facing criticism over integration with MobileCoin

Signal CEO Moxie Marlinspike previously served as a technical advisor to the upstart cryptocurrency

There are question marks around the partnership, which some are viewing as a conflict of interest, due to Signal CEO Moxie Marlinspike’s involvement with the crypto project. Marlinspike previously served as a technical advisor to the cryptocurrency upstart, leading to questions about his relationship with MobileCoin.

The decision to integrate MobileCoin appears to have been made long before the announcement, with Jonah Edwards of Internet Archive pointing out that the source code of the crypto integration was kept private for almost a year before being published to GitHub. Edwards noted that although Signal users’ privacy will likely not be compromised, the deal represents questionable business practices.

Many established privacy-focused coins such as Zcash and Monero seem like more obvious choices for the partnership, and Marlinspike’s choice of a relatively obscure coin in which he has a potential vested interest raises questions as to the motivations behind the agreement.

Joshua Goldbard, CEO of MobileCoin, replied to a Reddit thread to defend the integration, rubbishing claims that Moxie Marlinspike had previously been CTO of MobileCoin, and Signal have defended the company’s choice of integrating with MobileCoin by stating that it not only required very little storage space, but also allowed Signal to offer faster transactions without compromising on privacy standards.

The partnership, which enabled Signal to launch payment functionality on its application, was announced on April 4th 2021.

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