Facebook’s digital wallet has finally launched two years after the tech company made the announcement. The wallet called Novi digital wallet launched in the US and Guatemala for now as a pilot program. The pilot program has kicked off and users can now send and receive money “instantly, securely, and with no fees” using Paxos stable coin. The pilot program is being run in partnership with crypto exchange Coinbase. Coinbase will be in charge of the program as the custody partner and will hold the actual funds for the pilot.
The pilot program, according to David Marcus – Facebook’s Head of F2 (Facebook Financial), is designed to demonstrate a viable use of stable coins for payments as well as “to test core feature functions, and operational capabilities in customer care and compliance”. “Remittances are a critical way to achieve financial inclusion. Today, we’re rolling out a small pilot of the @Novi digital wallet app in two countries — the US and Guatemala. People can send and receive money instantly, securely, and with no fees”, he tweeted on Tuesday.
Although it has been launched, it is important to know that the Novi wallet was launched without its biggest and highly anticipated Diem cryptocurrency. The Diem cryptocurrency is what the Novi wallet is based on, just like how Ether is the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network.
The Diem cryptocurrency was formerly known as Libra because it is now an independent group different from Facebook which started it. Diem is yet to launch in any country as it is still facing regulatory approval. It was heavily criticized after its launch and partners like PayPal, eBay, Stripe, Mercado Pago, Visa, etc., that associated with the program, decided to pull out just few months after the program’s announcement. The company has also moved its operations back to the US following its decision to end attempts to get regulatory approval for the Diem coin in Switzerland.
According to reports, the company planned to release a single stable coin that will be tied to the US dollar as against its original plan that was broader. This could be a reason why the Diem coin wasn’t launched alongside the Novi pilot testing.