Users of Meta’s digital wallet Novi, formerly Calibra, will no longer be able to withdraw or add money to their accounts from 1 September.
In the last two years, Facebook has changed its name to Meta, its cryptocurrency’s name from Libra to Diem, and its digital wallet’s name from Calibra to Novi.
After the death of Diem earlier this year, the social media giant is now sunsetting Novi on 1 September – marking an end to its crypto ambitions.
Novi was launched as a pilot in the US and Guatemala last October to enable fast crypto transactions and help people around the world access affordable financial services.
On Friday (1 July), however, Meta announced on the Novi website that both the Novi app and Novi on WhatsApp will no longer be available starting 1 September, meaning that users will not be able to log in and access their accounts.
Users will not be able to add money to their account from 21 July. Users in the US and Guatemala then have until September to transfer any money left to their bank accounts, while those in Guatemala also have the option to get cash “at a nearby withdrawal location”.
“If you have money remaining in your Novi account after the pilot ends on September 1, 2022, we’ll attempt to transfer your balance to the bank account or debit card you’ve added to Novi,” the website reads.
While the Facebook parent company had great crypto ambitions with Diem and Novi, these faced a number of setbacks and resistance from regulators.
There were plans to legitimise the project and distance it from Facebook with the formation of the Libra Association, later the Diem Association. But the group behind Diem sold all of its intellectual property and technology assets to Silvergate Bank for $182m in January of this year.
“We all gave our whole hearts, blood, sweat and tears to what I will always call Libra,” David Marcus, the former Facebook executive who helped create Diem, tweeted at the time.
Marcus, who led the Novi unit, left Meta last November. In May, he announced the launch of his own crypto start-up called Lightspark to “explore, build and extend the capabilities and utility of bitcoin”.
Meta’s currency dreams may not be over just yet. The Financial Times reported in April that the company is planning to introduce a virtual currency for the metaverse, likely not based on the blockchain, which has been dubbed ‘Zuck Bucks’ by employees.
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