Facebook Inc in the news recently for a variety of reasons has finally begun the roll-out of a ‘small pilot’ of its Novi digital wallet in the United States and Guatemala, today the 20th of October 2021. The pilot program coming more than two years after its first announcement will give users the opportunity to send and receive funds “instantly, securely, and with no fees” with the use of the Paxos stablecoin, in collaboration with Coinbase who serves as the custody partner holding the actual funds for the pilot.
The head of F2 (Facebook Financial), Mr. David Marcus in a statement averred that the pilot’s purpose is to ‘test core feature functions, and operational capabilities in customer care and compliance’, while noting its ability to ensure the demonstration of a viable use of stable coins for payments.
Remittances are a critical way to achieve financial inclusion. Today, we’re rolling out a small pilot of the @Novi digital wallet app in two countries — the US and Guatemala. People can send and receive money instantly, securely, and with no fees. 1/8
— David Marcus (@davidmarcus) October 19, 2021
One of the notable takeaways from the roll-out is that Novi’s coming on board is without the hitherto Facebook-backed ‘Diem cryptocurrency’ feature that was initially mooted as the cornerstone of the digital currency project.
Initially coined ‘Libra’, the name was changed to Diem crypto in a veiled effort to distance the group, which is now independent form Facebook that had earlier started it.
The Diem digital currency despite its initial promise is not yet legal as it is facing regulatory approval and hasn’t been launched in any country, with the crypto coming under heavy criticism when it was first announced, causing multiple major partners like PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, eBay, Stripe, and Mercado Pago to pull out from the project just a few months after its announcement.
While assuaging any shred of animosity between Facebook and Diem, David Marcus noted that Novi is still obligated to the Diem crypto and affirmed that it will launch with the cryptocurrency when it goes live, but fell short of giving a precise time that will be.
Today’s launch however establishes the school of thought that sought to infer how much Novi and Diem have been reduced in scope and scale since the original announcement by Facebook, and also how far the social media giant has gone in its end goal of having a mainstream digital currency.
Facebook has recently been in the news for variety of reasons (positive and negative) and the launch of its own official cryptocurrency will be added to its positives while it seeks to reduce the impact of the negatives.
Facebook, headquartered at Menlo Park, California, United States according to reports is also planning on changing its brand name as it plans to shift its focus on building a metaverse.