Meta ends Novi cryptocurrency project

CEO Mark Zuckerberg continues attempt to innovate payments through Meta Pay rebrand

Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg speaking at a conference                                 
Novi pilot project in the United States and Guatemala to end in September

Meta Platforms, formerly Facebook, has announced the end of its cryptocurrency project Novi. 

In announcing that the pilot is “ending soon”, the company’s website stated: “Novi will no longer be available for use after September 1.” 

Advising users to withdraw their balances before this date, the company said that the Novi app and Novi WhatsApp extension will no longer be available from this date. Users will also be unable to log into their accounts. 

Novi project to be wound down

Novi is a digital wallet that allows users to transfer money instantly and without fees by using cryptocurrency. 

The pilot for the project launched in the United States and Guatemala last October. User balances are kept in Pax Dollar (USDP), a US dollar stablecoin issued by Paxos Trust Company, a regulated company. 

The ultimate aim was for Novi to become the digital wallet for Meta’s Diem cryptocurrency. Originally called Libra, the Diem project faced substantial opposition from both regulators and legislators.

Indeed, at one point the finance ministers of France and Germany issued a joint declaration, stating: “We believe that no private entity can claim monetary power, which is inherent to the sovereignty of Nations.”

Despite attempts to rebrand and to work with nations rather than compete against them, Diem continued to face hostility. Indeed, the then-German finance minister and current chancellor, Olaf Scholz, is on record as saying: “A wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf.”

In light of such antagonism, Meta scrapped Diem and sold the intellectual property and assets related to the project to Silvergate Capital for $182m (£150m) back in February. 

Facebook Pay rebranded

Although Diem and Novi have now been consigned to the dustbin of crypto history, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has not given up on attempts to innovate payments. 

Last week, Facebook Pay was rebranded as Meta Pay. The service will be developed as a universal means of payment using digital identities in the metaverse that the company is currently creating.

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