Facebook is ready to launch cryptocurrency project this year

Facebook is ready to release its digital wallet, according to a memo released last week. In the memo, co-creator David Marcus—who is also a board member of Diem, a cryptocurrency project initiated by Facebook—said that Novi, the Facebook-integrated digital currency wallet, is ready to go.

“It’s regulated, and we’re confident in our operational ability to exceed the high standards of compliance that will be demanded of us,” said Marcus.

He added that Novi will enable free domestic and international payments to individuals. In addition, the digital wallet may offer “cheaper merchant payments to businesses” once it hits a significant clientele.

“We can then branch out and offer a variety of other financial services in partnership with respected and well-regulated partners, and expand from there,” said Marcus.

Currently, Facebook has not yet set a launch date for Novi. It also did not give information on which coins the wallet would hold. Marcus, who heads F2 or Facebook Financial, made a strong case that digital payments could make the financial system “global, open, interoperable, near real-time, cheap” in a regulated way.

“We feel that it’s unreasonable to delay delivering the benefits of cheaper, interoperable, more accessible digital payments. We will continue to persevere and demonstrate we can be a trusted player in this industry — and one that’s bringing positive change by being in it,” he added.

The new Novi wallet is different than the Libra project, which Facebook tried to release a couple of years ago. During that time, the company was forced to take another direction with that project due to great regulatory scrutiny, leading to the development of the Novi wallet.

Marcus suggested that Facebook might be willing to only offer fiat currencies in Novi and to drop its crypto plans if this would enable them to build a more solid service and bring more value to people. (Read: Scientists create a toilet that turns poop into cryptocurrency)

“Let me be clear, if we only offered fiat money in Novi, it would bring people a lot of value. So why not just do that and call it a day? Well, we might,” he added. “I strongly believe if there was ever a chance to create an open, interoperable protocol for money on the internet and truly change the game for people and businesses around the world, it is now.”

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Ralph Gurango

explainer | newsman | jrpg adventurer

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