NewsBusiness

Novi Crypto Wallet Chief David Marcus Leaving Facebook

He's departing at the end of December.

2 min read
David Marcus, head of Novi crypto wallet at Facebook, speaks in 2017 when he was in charge of Facebook Messenger. Photo: Anthony Quintano on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

In brief

  • David Marcus co-created Facebook's cryptocurrency project, Diem.
  • The company's Novi crypto wallet recently launched.
  • He's being replaced by Novi's VP of Product Stephane Kasriel.

David Marcus, the executive who shepherded Facebook's Novi wallet into existence, has announced he will be leaving the social media company at the end of December.

Marcus has been with the company seven years, serving as VP of messaging products from 2014 before co-creating the Diem cryptocurrency—which has yet to be released—and taking over Novi in 2018. Current VP of product for Novi, Stephane Kasriel, is being promoted to the top spot.

"While there’s still so much to do right on the heels of launching Novi—and I remain as passionate as ever about the need for change in our payments and financial systems—my entrepreneurial DNA has been nudging me for too many mornings in a row to continue ignoring it," Marcus tweeted.

Facebook, which recently changed its company name to Meta, has been working on its own crypto project for years. First known as Libra, it weathered executive departures and broken partnerships before rebranding to Diem. The associated wallet, Calibra, reinvented itself as Novi.

Marcus leaves on a relative high note. In August, over two years after announcing Facebook's crypto ambitions to the world, Marcus revealed that Novi was ready to come to market.

Moreover, with Facebook full steam ahead on creating a metaverse—an online space where people connect with virtual and augmented elements—the digital Diem digital currency has a potential use case for payments. Metaverse tokens have surged of late, with The Sandbox up in price by 282% in the last month and Decentraland registering a more modest 32% increase.

But the road to release was far from easy. After promising to create a global digital currency that would become progressively more decentralized (i.e., not controlled exclusively by Facebook), the social media company took heat from U.S. regulators and policymakers. Early partners, including eBay, Mastercard, Stripe and Visa, bowed out of the association meant to oversee the project. Ultimately, Facebook changed course to develop a run-of-the-mill stablecoin pegged to fiat. Novi would be the wallet for storing those coins.

Marcus has been the biggest name left standing for some time. Co-founder Kevin Weil left the project in March, joining other executives at the exit. And Diem co-founder Andreessen Horowitz poached Novi's top engineers in October.

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