Facebook Announces Rollout of Cryptocurrency Wallet Novi

Facebook is testing out its cryptocurrency wallet called Novi. Beginning with a small pilot in the United States and Guatemala, a limited number of users will be able to use the wallet to send and receive money instantly.

The company has been teasing Novi for over two years. Facebook’s payments chief David Marcus finally announced the rollout of the wallet this morning.

“We’re doing a pilot to test core feature functions, and our operational capabilities in customer care and compliance,” Marcus wrote on Twitter. “We’re also hopeful this will demonstrate a new stablecoin use case (as a payments instrument) beyond how they are typically used today.”

For its pilot, Novi partnered with Coinbase and is operating using the stablecoin Pax Dollar (USDP) instead of the company’s proposed cryptocurrency Diem. Originally named Libra, it was announced in June 2019 but the currency and network still haven’t launched.

“I do want to be clear that our support for Diem hasn’t changed and we intend to launch Novi with Diem once it receives regulatory approval and goes live,” Marcus explained.

He went on to share a little more about Novi’s business model, including that the plan for the wallet would offer free person-to-person payments and cheaper merchant payments from which the company would derive a profit.

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