Meta Platform’s (formerly Facebook) endeavors in the digital asset space may have been mired in controversy from the very start, but that has not deterred its efforts to explore new ways for users to utilize its cryptocurrency wallet, Novi.
WhatsApp, the social media giant’s messenger subsidiary, has launched pilot crypto payments in the US with the help of Novi. The move comes a little over a week after top executive David Marcus announced that he would be leaving Novi at the end of this year.
According to an update by Novi’s Head, Stephane Kasriel, a limited number of individuals in the country will be allowed to send and receive money through WhatsApp with the USDP (Pax Dollar) stablecoin. This pilot will be powered by Meta Platform’s Novi wallet that itself launched as a pilot in October this year, more than two years after its initial announcement.
Talking about the move, Kasriel noted,
“We’re still very early in the Novi pilot journey, so we made the decision to test this new entry point in one country to start and will look to extend it once we’ve heard from people what they think of this new experience.”
He also acknowledged that Novi is still at a very nascent stage. Hence, the team decided to move forward with the pilot in a bid to test the latest entry point in one country and extend it after analyzing the user experience.
Besides, the new feature will enable payments instantly, and no transaction fees will be levied. There are no limits on the number of payments transferred as well. Additionally, payments will appear in users’ chats. The exec also asserted that using the digital wallet would not affect user privacy of WhatsApp with regards to their messages and calls since chats are encrypted end-to-end by default.
Libra to Diem: The Journey so Far
It is no secret that Meta has been at the receiving end of immense backlash from the US regulatory authorities. Libra was first unveiled in June 2019 with much fanfare and controversy as part of the Libra Association. But the team behind the ambitious digital asset rollout had to significantly water down its plans amidst mounting regulatory threats. Along the way, it lost numerous initial backers, such as Visa and Mastercard.
A complete makeover later, Libra was rebranded as Diem. Calibra wallet became Novi. Despite the hurdles, Meta had started testing the digital wallet in Guatemala and the US by enabling transfers of Pax Dollar two months ago. However, the fate of Diem cryptocurrency is still stuck in limbo.