Meta's crypto project Novi announced today that a "limited number of people in the U.S." will be able to send cryptocurrencies through WhatsApp. Novi is Meta's—formerly Facebook's—cryptocurrency wallet.
"There's a new way to try the Novi digital wallet," said Stephane Kasriel, Novi's project lead. "Starting today, a limited number of people in the U.S. will be able to send and receive money using Novi on WhatsApp."
There's a new way to try the @Novi digital wallet. Starting today, a limited number of people in the US will be able to send and receive money using Novi on @WhatsApp, making sending money to family and friends as easy as sending a message. 💸💬 pic.twitter.com/dGz3lejri7
— Stephane Kasriel (@skasriel) December 8, 2021
Marketing materials accompanying the announcement suggest trial users would be able to send and receive the USD-pegged Pax Dollar (USDP). In October, Paxos announced that it would be joining Novi by letting users buy USDP through the digital wallet. Tokens bought this way are to be custodied by Coinbase.
Facebook's crypto pivot, Meta rebrand
Facebook's move into the cryptocurrency space has been a chaotic venture, fraught with failed partnerships from big-name firms like Mastercard and PayPal, and a wave of C-suite departures. The move has also taken a variety of forms.
First called Libra at launch in 2019, Facebook first pursued the rollout of a stablecoin backed by a basket of global currencies.
The stablecoin project then rebranded to Diem and was to be exclusively pegged to the U.S. dollar. A quick glance around the market, and it becomes clear that no such stablecoin ever launched. Novi is currently the only active remnant of these early crypto ambitions.
Besides payments, Facebook's rebrand to Meta also indicates that Zuckerberg's firm is more than optimistic about the future of the so-called metaverse.
Amid the rebrand, Zuckerberg told The Verge that his company was "moving from being Facebook first as a company to being metaverse first."