A pilot program for Novi, the social media giant’s money-transfer service that uses a cryptocurrency wallet of the same name, will cease operating on Sept. 1, according to a notice on its website. The Novi pilot served Guatemala and parts of the US when it launched in October 2021. “The Novi pilot is ending soon,” according to the notice, which was reported earlier by Bloomberg News. “We’ve made it easy for you to get your remaining balance and download your Novi information.” Another page on the site encourages users to withdraw balances “as soon as possible.”
The planned phaseout of Novi is hardly surprising. Earlier this year, Meta and its partners pulled the plug on Diem, a related cryptocurrency project that was launched under the moniker Libra in 2019, when Meta was still called Facebook… The Libra-Diem-Novi project got little love in its brief history. Partners bolted, details shifted, and legislators criticized the plans. CEO Mark Zuckerberg eventually shifted his interest to the metaverse and an end to the crypto plans seemed inevitable.
Protocol points out that Novi “was a far cry from what Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and then-Meta executive David Marcus originally envisioned.”
They unveiled plans for a stablecoin, initially called Libra, in 2019, with plans to launch it in 2020, along with a crypto wallet called Calibra. It soon faced resistance from regulators around the globe. The token was renamed Diem and the wallet Novi, but the new name didn’t change official skepticism… Marcus left Meta last year, and Meta sold assets related to the project to its banking partner, Silvergate. Novi was supposed to become the new brand for all of Meta’s financial products, including Facebook Pay. But after Marcus’ departure, Meta started downplaying the Novi name. Meta’s financial operations became Meta Financial Technologies in March, and Facebook Pay became Meta Pay in June.
Meta hasn’t completely abandoned its blockchain ambitions, signaling that support for cryptocurrency payments will eventually be built into Meta Pay.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.