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Meta Is Pulling The Plug On Its Crypto Payments Wallet, Novi
Three years after Facebook announced its ill-fated push into cryptocurrency, aka the Libra project, the tech giant has signalled another scaling back of its activity — announcing Friday that Novi, the digital wallet payments pilot it launched last October, will be ending on on September 1.
2:33 4th Jul, 2022

The tech giant that’s now known as Meta suggested it has plans to repurpose the digital wallet technology (neé Calibra) for future products, including those related to its eponymous focus on “metaverse” development. Although it’s not clear exactly what Meta might have in mind for repurposing the Novi tech.

Senior Meta execs have talked up the metaverse as a major opportunity for digital commerce. Albeit, they’ve also cautioned over the lengthy timescales that will be required to develop the sought for market — suggesting it could take decades.

In recent months, the company has also been testing support for digital collectables (aka NFTs) — so Meta having its own digital wallet infrastructure could support a wider push into non-fungible token trading if it decides there’s enough money to be made on that front (but, again, NFT trading volumes are steeply down vs last year — as digital collectables catch crypto’s chill).

The Novi pilot, meanwhile, was a lot more basic: It enabled testers to make fee-free, instant personal payments via the Novi app, using a stablecoin as the transfer medium — with Meta’s marketing claiming its tech made sending money “as easy as sending a message”. The pilot was limited to users in the US and Guatemala.

A limited integration with WhatsApp was also rolled out last December for a subset of US users of the Facebook-owned messaging platform.

However the wallet project was generally hampered by Meta’s crypto ambitions never having panned out as hoped — in the face of regulatory push-back and withering support.


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