Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 10 July 2020

Facebook renames Calibra digital wallet as Novi

The company is aiming to introduce an early version of the product in an unspecified set of countries

Facebook's virtual wallet for yet-to-be-minted Libra cryptocurrency is renamed Novi. AFP
Facebook's virtual wallet for yet-to-be-minted Libra cryptocurrency is renamed Novi. AFP

Facebook is renaming Calibra – the digital wallet that people will use to store its Libra cryptocurrency – as Novi, the company announced.

The new name is inspired by the Latin words “novus” for “new” and “via” for “way”, the social media giant said in a blog on Tuesday.

“While we have changed our name from Calibra, we have not changed our long-term commitment to helping people around the world access affordable financial services,” Facebook said.

“Novi’s new visual identity and design represent the fluid movement of digital currencies … we have also included a nod to the Libra icon in the brand logo to underscore our commitment to the Libra network.”

Novi Financial is the new name of the Facebook subsidiary that will develop the company’s digital wallet.

The company is aiming to introduce an early version of Novi when the Libra cryptocurrency is available. It will be rolled-out in a set of countries, with features that will make “cross-border money transfers instant, secure and with no hidden fees”, the company said without naming the countries.

Originally set to launch next month, the digital wallet is now expected to come out in October and will support multiple currencies, of which Libra will be just one.

The renaming of its digital wallet is the latest in a series of changes that Facebook has made to its cryptocurrency project since its launch in June last year.

In March, it was reported that Facebook is redesigning the whole cryptocurrency project as its top supporters remain reluctant to lend public support in the face of mounting resistance from regulators.

In addition to the proposed Libra token, it was decided that the infrastructure being developed would offer multiple coins and digital versions of government-backed currencies, such as the US dollar and the euro.

At the time of Libra's launch in June last year, Facebook said it would revolutionise the global payments system – giving a safe option to the unbanked to transfer money. The social media company estimates there are nearly 1.7 billion adults worldwide without a bank account or access to financial services.

However, the frosty reception the project received from lawmakers, particularly in the US where Facebook's record on data privacy came in for criticism, led to several high-profile partners backing away.

The regulators said it could potentially facilitate money laundering, terrorist financing and enable anti-competitive activity as the entrance into finance of a social media company could lead to "new, coercive forms" of debt collection.

Updated: May 27, 2020 06:23 PM

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