Novi, Facebook’s digital wallet, will launch a pilot program to test the functionality of the service in two countries: Guatemala and the U.S. The test will allow Novi to test all of its main functions and to evaluate what things need to be improved before launch. Novi will use pax dollars as the main currency during the test, but David Marcus, head Of Facebook Financial, stated they still plan to launch with Diem once it gets greenlighted by regulators.
Novi Launches Test Pilot Sans Diem
Novi, Facebook’s digital wallet, is now running a test pilot program of its wallet in two countries: Guatemala and the U.S. David Marcus, head of Facebook Financial, stated this “test pilot would test core feature functions” and their operational capabilities in customer care and compliance. Marcus also stated that the remittance corridor between these two countries was very important because most Guatemalans lack access to financial services, but have access to a smartphone.
However, the pilot is not using diem, the formerly Facebook-backed cryptocurrency. Instead, Novi chose to launch the pilot using pax dollar, an already established stablecoin supported by Paxos, a New York-based financial services company. Coinbase was selected as custodian of the funds for the pilot, to keep users’ funds secure through its custody platform.
Diem Use Still on the Table
Although the pilot program is not using diem as the transactional asset of the platform, Marcus clarified that Novi has the intention of leveraging the crypto in the near future. About this, he stated:
I do want to be clear that our support for Diem hasn’t changed and we intend to launch Novi with Diem once it receives regulatory approval and goes live. We care about interoperability and we want to do it right.
So, Novi has not abandoned diem, and is just waiting for the project to overcome the regulatory hurdles it has faced since its inception. However, this test pilot program confirms the interest that Novi has in establishing itself as a serious player in the payments market. Marcus stated that, ultimately, this was the prime focus and that the objective was to offer free person-to-person payments, and profit from merchant interactions, once Novi has a solid customer base.
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