Crypto, Virtual Wallet: Meta’s Entire Payment Project Collapsed

Novi, which Facebook introduced as Calibra in 2019, will shut down. The failure of Meta’s payment division is now total.

In 2019, Facebook thought it had found its “next big thing”. Confident of itself thanks to numerous partnerships with large groups, Mark Zuckerberg’s company announced Libra, the “currency of the future”. Facebook dreamed of creating an internationally recognized currency, which would put an end to dollars or euros. Based on the blockchain, the Libra was to be stored in the Calibra application, a kind of digital wallet dedicated to cryptocurrencies.

Unfortunately, not everything went as planned for Facebook, which has since become Meta. Regulators around the world said no to the project, its partners left, name changes took place (Libra became Diem, Calibra became Novi), Facebook tried to reassure by leaving control to an independent body, its manager David Marcus jumped ship, and in February 2022, Meta gave up its cryptocurrency completely. That left Novi, which the company wanted to continue using for peer-to-peer payments and cryptocurrency purchases. On July 1, 2022, we learn that the application will close on September 1.

Novi, Facebook’s latest failure

Is Novi’s death really surprising? Not really. In January 2022, we were surprised on Numerama of the unavailability of the application outside the United States and Guatemala. The application, which is now used to make payments between individuals, seemed too unambitious for a company like Facebook. It was also far from its initial objective, namely to make cryptocurrencies (and Libra/Diem) accessible. This part has long frightened some authorities, who believe that Facebook does not deserve this trust.

Mark Zuckerberg transformed Facebook into Meta in October 2021. // Source: Capture Meta by Numerama.

From July 21, the (rare) Novi users will no longer be able to upload money to their virtual account. On September 1, Facebook will permanently shut down the app, which means Novi users should get all their money back by then. The failure is total, neither Libra nor Calibra survived.

Will Meta learn the lesson by staying away from cryptocurrencies? It seems unlikely. In April 2022, several press articles mentioned the existence of the Zuck Buck, a virtual currency that could one day be used in the company’s applications and its future metaverse. Libra, Diem, Calibra and Novi have failed, but Meta is not letting go.

Leave a Comment