Facebook says it’s finally ready to launch its most ambitious new product in years: a digital wallet called Novi. But the man leading the charge says Washington could stand in its way. From a report: Facebook needs to convince regulators skeptical of its power that it’s a good idea. “If there’s one thing we need, it’s the benefit of the doubt,” Facebook’s David Marcus said in an interview with Axios. “[W]e’re starting with a trust deficit that we need to compensate.” Much of Facebook’s broader ambitions, like building a “meta-verse” and advancing its shopping platform, are tied to innovations in payments.
Marcus — head of F2, which stands for Facebook Financial — visited Washington last week to meet with key regulatory stakeholders about Novi, a wallet app built on blockchain technology. Crypto-based payment systems, he says, will help to “really lower the bar for accessibility to a modern financial system.”
He was also there to discuss the Diem Association, a group made up of 26 corporate and non-profit members that is building a blockchain-based payments system that Novi will use.
The group is meant to act as an unbiased third party that allows various digital wallets around the world to trade using the same type of digital coin, called a Diem. Marcus says Facebook is hoping to launch Novi in conjunction with Diem by years’ end. While Novi is ready to launch now, it’s unclear whether Diem will be ready this year, in part because it requires more regulatory buy-in. Regardless, “we plan to actually get it out (Novi) in the market this half, no matter what,” he said.
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