- Facebook has launched its Novi wallet to limited audiences in the U.S. and Guatemalan markets.
- The Novi wallet will support Paxos’ USDP stablecoin initially rather than its own native Diem currency.
- This is the first time Novi has been available to the public.
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Facebook has launched its Novi wallet in a limited pilot program, according to a press release published today.
Pilot Will Focus on Guatemala
In its pilot stage, the Novi wallet app will be available to select customers in Guatemala and the United States.
David Marcus, who heads Novi, noted that the pilot will serve the U.S.-Guatemala remittances corridor, a market in which 56% of people do not have access to banking and financial services.
“Money sent from family & friends abroad contributes more than 14% of GDP and 90% of those remittances come from the [United States],” Marcus noted in a Twitter thread today, emphasizing the rich potential of that remittances market.
Diem Not Yet Supported
The Novi wallet will not initially support the project’s native Diem stablecoin. Instead, it will support the Paxos Dollar (USDP). Marcus noted that Paxos is a trusted and widely supported stablecoin with three years of operation, which will allow Novi to be interoperable with other cryptocurrency wallets that support USDP.
Marcus noted that the project still intends to launch Novi with Diem once the coin gains regulatory approval.
He also reaffirmed that future versions of Novi will offer free person-to-person payments. Those feeless transactions will distinguish the services from competitors such as PayPal.
Other Novi Developments
Leading crypto exchange Coinbase announced today that it will serve Novi in a custodial role, storing funds on behalf of the wallet and its users. The company will provide cold storage as well as $320 million in insurance against criminal attacks.
Meanwhile, lawmakers have attempted to block the launch, as the U.S. Senate wrote an open letter to Facebook opposing the plan.
Despite Novi’s limited launch, today’s news is a step forward to the project, which has been met with several roadblocks in the past.
Users can download the wallet app for mobile devices via the Google Play and Apple iOS stores.
Disclaimer: At the time of writing this author held less than $75 of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and altcoins.
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