WhatsApp, Signal and SnatchApp: Luigi Wewege explains how investors view the online payments market

Updated on
  • Even though WhatsApp still lays claim to 2 billion users, its recent privacy changes has led to many of its competitors catching up to its market share lead.

Get The Full Series in PDF

Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

  • Signal and SnatchApp are emerging as new market leaders in light of this change.
  • With online payment integration, SnatchApp’s privacy-focused approach alongside its convenience strengthens its position with future investors.
  • Industry veteran, Luigi Wewege, details the potential for investors.

The Use Of Messaging Apps Reaches New Heights

The use of messaging apps has never been more prominent, and they remain a lucrative source of investment seeing as 2.52 billion people use messaging apps on their mobile devices. By 2022, this number is projected to grow to 3 billion.

Although previously focused on being solely a method of communicating messages, images, and documents with others, prominent messaging apps are now establishing themselves as valid online payment platforms. As such, the significance of these chat apps now lies also in their online payment capacity and their position in the money transfer industry.

Many platforms already make use of B2C (Business-to-Consumer) interactions which often incorporate innovative chatbots. Luigi Wewege, an industry leader known for predicting the utilization of innovative technology in the financial services industry, recognizes that businesses need to infiltrate the messaging app industry as a new source of consumer activity. He has detailed his years of experience in predicting significant market trends in the fintech, e-commerce, and affiliate industries in his authoritative FinTech/Digital Banking guide available on Amazon. The future truly lies in the capacity of these messaging apps with regards to P2P (Peer-to-Peer) interactions.

In light of WhatsApp’s privacy changes, “SnatchApp and Signal have the potential to become huge targets for private equity funds and investors even as WhatsApp is fighting back hard to prevent more fallout and “unsubscribes” following the recent privacy changes,” details said Luigi Wewege.

An overview of the most competitive players:

Chat Apps - an overview

SnatchApp, Whatsapp, Wechat, Line, Telegram and Signal are currently notable contestants in this space. Below, we will discuss several notable points in relation to some of these apps.


WhatsApp’s position as a part of Facebook has always seemed a bit off-point seeing as the platform used to pride itself on its privacy-focused approach to messaging. However, as of the 8th of January 2021 many people’s fears will be realized as WhatsApp announced that its terms of service would be amended and that users would need to share identification data to continue using the service.

However, even though competitors are seeing increases in their user-bases in the short term, investors should not be too concerned in the long run. Even though the privacy features of WhatsApp remained intriguing to many users, its popularity lay primarily in its convenience. So even though many users are shifting their attention to other platforms, WhatsApp may retain its popularity should the platform continue to be used by the user’s family, friends, and colleagues.

WhatsApp has also cemented itself as a solid platform with the introduction of its online payment capability in accordance with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It works simply as users can send money as easily as they would send a photo or digital file on the app. Should it go well in India, the country with the largest number of WhatsApp users which stand at 200 million, the company plans on rolling it out all around the world.

However, Atmanirbhar Digital India Foundation (ADIF) believes that these changes are a threat to the payments and financial data of users. Consequently, they believe that increased oversight is required. Ajay Data, the Secretary-General of ADIF believes that WhatsApp is not being entirely transparent about what it intends in relation to one of its provisions that UPI transactions on WhatsApp use Facebook infrastructure and because of this, some user’s data may be disseminated in order to offer customer support to the user or maintain the security of payments.

In Data’s mind, "as privacy of data of 40 crore Indian citizens is at stake, Indian government may consider conducting a CERT-IN audit of WhatsApp servers to ensure that payments data is stored only in India and appropriate measures are applied to protect customer data."


Signal is an open-source platform which uses end-to-end encryption and focuses on privacy by using end-to-end encryption.

The platform has seen millions of new users as a part of the movement away from WhatsApp, especially as the app was recommended by Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Twitter and tweeted by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.


SnatchApp has emerged as one of the primary competitors of WhatsApp and one which may benefit from the mass exodus the new privacy changes have prompted. It is expected that its market share will grow exponentially - especially seeing as it already offers payment integration with PayPal, Stripe, and Facebook native payments.

The app has already seen more than 500 000 downloads all around the world on Google Playstore, and it uses state-of-the-art artificial intelligence chatbots developed by Henri and Avi Benezra.

Several apps are still pre-IPO:

Although apps like Zoom rocketed 72% in the first week of it’s IPO in 2019, many players like SnatchApp are still pre-IPO and may currently be the target of VC firms. Those apps that managed to avoid the political arena will likely also avoid the wrath of bigger players, the likes of certain hosting companies that booted out Signal from it’s servers. It is clear that the value proposition of privacy, security and chatbot integration are the safest route to growth without causing turbulence. Whereas monetization methods are plenty, apps like Whatsapp and SnatchApp that offer money transfers, are playing one of the biggest trends of our time: the revolution in fintech and online payments.

Final Take

WhatsApp’s privacy changes have sparked massive outrage, even as they may survive in the long run with investors remaining profitable. Ultimately, the platform that reaches the perfect mix of privacy and convenience may prove the most profitable.

“The current standard for any platform to last is convenience. Even though security concerns are growing, and more and more people want to know that their data is safe, the primary aspect that will draw any user is convenience. The integration of payment methods into messaging apps which people use every day is the height of convenience and it is what will draw users and, as a result, investors,” says Luigi Wewege – Senior Vice President of Caye International Bank and Advisory Board member at Fort Kobbe.