Facebook rebrands digital wallet

Latest attempt to shake-off initial Libra stigma

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Facebook has announced that it is renaming the digital wallet on which it is currently leading development and which it hopes will eventually be used to access the Libra digital currencies.

When first announced in 2019, the Libra Association provoked vituperative reactions from both regulators and politicians. The prospect of a consortium of major corporations launching an alternate means of exchange available to a ready-made userbase of 2 billion people, proved too much for the powers that be.

Following joint statements from the finance ministers of France and Germany, a slew of high-profile drop-outs and a series of public grillings before the US Congress, the group has attempted to change tack.

Thus far in 2020, the Libra Association has published a revised white paper outlining its hopes to work with, rather than compete against, nation states and appointed a former first Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

In what is a not-so-subtle move, Facebook has decided to drop the Calibra name for its digital wallet, opting instead for Novi. In a blog post the company explained that the new name was inspired by the Latin words “novus” and “via”, which mean “new” and “way” respectively.

Along with the new name the digital wallet has been given a new logo. A stylised “Libra” will now replace the previous design, which was criticised as being too similar to that of the start-up bank Current.

For all intents and purposes Novi will continue unchanged from Calibra. Indeed, David Marcus, the original head of Calibra and the Libra Association, will serve as head of Novi.

Marcus said: “The first product Novi Financial will introduce is the Novi digital wallet designed for Libra, a new payment system which is built on innovative blockchain technology.”

With its launch date recently pushed back towards the end of the year, it will be some months before anyone gets to try this innovative technology.

FURTHER READING: Singapore state-backed investor joins Libra Association

FURTHER READING: Iran to limit crypto exchanges

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