Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is concluding its ambitious digital wallet payments pilot Novi which was launched in October 2021. The company, which is drawing all its resources on metaverse development, plans to repurpose the digital wallet technology for future products. But it hasn’t disclosed what it has in mind.
Users have been urged to withdraw their funds before the services stop working – Novi is set to shut down on September 1. Meta said users can transfer funds to their bank account or withdraw them as cash. Besides, Novi services were also available on WhatsApp. It made it easier for people to send money to their contacts across the messaging app. Novi had been facilitating money transfers through Paxos, a dollar-pegged stablecoin. It had partnered with Coinbase as its custodian of the funds.
David Marcus, who had headed Novi, left in November 2021. Meta then announced plans to wind down its much talked about Libra/Diem Association. This was Meta’s cryptocurrency project but has been shut down too. It had drawn criticism and intense scrutiny from regulators. Stuart Levey, Diem CEO, had said that despite positive feedback on the design of the network, it became clear from talks with federal regulators that the project would not be moving ahead. He said the best path forward was to sell Diem’s assets to Silvergate.
Meta’s executives, since the rebranding of Facebook, have touted the metaverse as a major opportunity for digital commerce. They have also warned about lengthy timescales for developing the metaverse. It could take decades!