In 2019, Facebook unveiled its crypto ambitions to the world by introducing the Libra project. Initially, Libra was to be a stablecoin indexed to a basket of currencies, accompanied by a crypto wallet. However, regulators around the world took a dim view of this initiative. Indeed, many of them felt that Facebook was trying to replace states and their central banks. The project has therefore scaled back its ambitions. From now on, renamed Diem, Facebook’s currency will be a stablecoin wisely backed by the dollar and accompanied by a wallet named Novi. While Facebook still dreams of being a crypto giant, it seems that Bitcoin (BTC) will be excluded from Facebook’s future wallet.
Unlike Diem, Novi, Facebook’s wallet is ready
On August 24, David Marcus, head of Facebook Financial, offered a progress update on Diem and Novi. In his interview with Bloomberg, Marcus said that the Diem teams are “getting ready for launch”. It will be recalled that since the initiative’s launch in 2019, the Diem stablecoin project has been pushed back multiple times.
Marcus claims that Facebook “is not yet ready” for the launch of its stablecoin. However, this does not help David Marcus, who is also responsible for the development of Facebook’s wallet: Novi. According to him, the stablecoin infrastructure is not yet ready, while the Novi wallet is ready. But, launching the wallet, without the stablecoin that goes with it, is a “last resort” solution, as its initial uses would be drastically limited.
“But we are fully committed and motivated to launch [Novi] with a stablecoin, on a network that allows us to really change the game.”David Marcus head of Facebook Financial
Presentation of Facebook’s crypto wallet interface allowing to use its future steblecoin the Diem but which will not be compatible with Bitcoin
Interface of Navi, Facebook’s crypto wallet – Source: Navi
Our fellow Bloombergers pointed out that a significant portion of the population absolutely does not trust Facebook and that this could hurt Novi’s adoption.
“I don’t think we deserve people’s trust. I think we deserve a chance to earn people’s trust. I think we’re well positioned to do that.”David Marcus head of Facebook Financial
However, earning the public’s trust on this particular issue could prove difficult for the web giant. Indeed, its reputation with the Western public, its core target, is deeply tarnished.
Bitcoin: a good investment, but not a medium of exchange
During his exchange on Bloomberg, Marcus was asked about the possible integration of Bitcoin into Novi. For now, integrating Bitcoin is not part of Facebook’s plan.
“I’m also a long-time fan of bitcoin. But I don’t see bitcoin as a transactional currency or medium of exchange. I see it as a great decorrelated investment asset. But the problem is that the volatility of the asset itself does not make a good transactional currency.”David Marcus head of Facebook Financial
While Bitcoin isn’t of interest to Facebook, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are reportedly a focus being considered by the team behind Novi. Marcus explained that Novi will allow for the storage of NFTs. He said it’s important for creators and the public to be able to rent and sell NFTs, as these assets open the door to new business models.
“It’s too early to address our plan, but we’re certainly looking at a number of ways to get involved in this area, because we think we’re in a very good position to do so.”David Marcus head of Facebook Financial
Marcus did not reveal the reasons behind the new delay in Diem’s launch. Beyond Facebook’s desire to create a low-cost payment system, we don’t know much more about the web giant’s true crypto ambitions. One thing is for sure, Bitcoin is not part of the social network’s crypto roadmap.