Meta is ending the pilot for Novi, the company’s digital wallet and the last remaining piece of its unsettled cryptocurrency project, On Novi’s website, Meta says the wallet is shutting down on September 1st, 2022, and requests its users to withdraw their funds as soon as possible.
Users will lose access to their accounts come September, and will no longer be able to add money to Novi commencing July 21st. If someone misses withdrawing their remaining balance, Meta says it will attempt to transfer their funds to the bank account or debit card added to the service.
Last October, Meta rolled out the “small pilot” of Novi to users in the US and Guatemala. Novi was initially built to sustain fast and free transactions using the Meta-backed cryptocurrency, Diem, but regulatory challenges caused the company to partner with Coinbase to utilize the Paxos stablecoin (USDP) instead. While Meta made it clear that it still planned on adding support for Diem at a later date, things began to fall apart towards the end of 2021 and into 2022.
Before Facebook’s parent company was known as Meta, Diem was also known by a different name: Libra. The cryptocurrency project faced scrutiny over its connections to Facebook, so much so that the independent group behind Libra rebranded the project to Diem in an attempt to disaffect itself from the social network.
Members of the US Senate called on Meta to shut down its Novi project soon after its October 2021 launch. They mentioned that the company cannot be trusted to manage cryptocurrency. David Marcus, the head of Meta’s cryptocurrency projects, left the company one month later. Diem sold its assets for about $200 million at the start of this year, marking an end to the project.
However, the end of Diem doesn’t mean that Meta is done with the idea of developing its own digital assets and attending wallet. Meta spokesperson Lauren Dickson said in an emailed statement that Meta will utilize the technology it acquired in conjunction with the project on new products, such as digital collectibles, as it looks towards “building the metaverse.”
Meta has already started testing NFTs on Instagram and recently rolled out backing for NFTs on Facebook for select creators based in the US. In fact, the company is also working on a digital currency, dubbed “Zuck Bucks”. This currency will not be based on the blockchain.
Last month, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg also indicated creating a digital wallet that could help him handle and store digital clothing, art, videos, music, experiences, virtual events, and much more. The wallet would be interoperable across various metaverse experiences, reflecting the goals of the Metaverse Standards Forum that Meta and a group of different companies aided form, which calls for industry-wide standards across virtual reality and augmented reality experiences.
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