Meta is ending the pilot of Novi, the company’s digital wallet and the last remaining element of its troubled cryptocurrency project, as first reported by Bloomberg. On Novi’s website, Meta states that the wallet will close on September 1, 2022 and asks users to withdraw their funds “as soon as possible”.
Users will lose access to their accounts in September and will no longer be able to add money to Novi from July 21. If someone forgets to withdraw their remaining balance, Meta says they will “attempt to transfer” their funds to the bank account or debit card added to the service.
Meta rolled out Novi’s “little pilot” to users in the United States and Guatemala last October. Novi was originally designed to support fast and free transactions using the Meta-based cryptocurrency, Diem, but regulatory challenges forced the company to partner with Coinbase to use the Paxos stablecoin ( USDP) instead. Although Meta has made it clear that he still planning to add support for Diem at a later date, things started to fall apart (more than they already were) in late 2021 and into 2022.
Before Facebook’s parent company was known as Meta, Diem was also known by another name: Libra. The cryptocurrency project has come under scrutiny for its ties to Facebook, so much so that the independent group behind Libra renamed the project to Diem in a bid to distance itself from the social network.
Members of the US Senate have called on Meta to shut down its Novi project shortly after its launch in October 2021, citing that the company cannot be trusted to handle cryptocurrency. David Marcus, head of cryptocurrency projects at Meta, left the company a month later. Diem sold its assets for around $200 million earlier this year, marking the end of the project.
The end of Diem doesn’t mean that Meta is abandoning the idea of developing its own digital assets and accompanying portfolio, however. Meta spokeswoman Lauren Dickson said in a statement emailed to The edge that Meta will use the technology it developed in conjunction with the project “on new products, such as digital collectibles”, as it plans to “build the Metaverse”.
Meta has already started testing NFTs (non-fungible tokens) on Instagram and recently rolled out support for NFTs on Facebook for select US-based creators. The company is also reportedly working on a digital currency, called “Zuck Bucks”, which is not blockchain-based.
Last month, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg also hinted at the creation of a digital wallet that could help you manage and store “digital clothes, art, videos, music, experiences, virtual events, etc.”. The wallet would be interoperable between different Metaverse experiences, mirroring the goals of the Metaverse Standards Forum that Meta and a group of other companies helped form, which calls for industry-wide standards for virtual reality experiences. and augmented reality.