Facebook says No to Bitcoin But A Yes to Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT)

“Blockchain is going to be transformational for the metaverse,” said the head of Novi & Diem Co-Creator David Marcus.


Facebook’s stablecoin project Diem, which was first introduced in the summer of 2019, whose launch has since been postponed several times, “is still working on getting ready for launch,” said the head of Novi & Diem Co-Creator David Marcus.

In his interview with Bloomberg, he shared how Diem has a series of evolution starting with the rebranding from Libra, which “was not as meaningful” and also from its initial plan to be backed by a basket of fiat currencies to now focus on only US dollar after regulators pushed back.

Facebook is undoubted “not prepared” to involve its stablecoin Diem into the mix yet, as the current infrastructure needs a significant upgrade for that. But as a “last resort,” if there’s no other way to provide value to consumers, they might consider doing that, said Marcus.

“But we're very determined and very motivated to launch with a stablecoin. And on a network that enables us to actually really change the game.”

Marcus also sees central bank digital currencies (CBDC) emerge over time, which will “bring an additional level of trust in the underlying digital currency that people use.” And when that happens, Facebook will also be using that CBDC.

Novi is Ready for Launch

Facebook’s digital wallet Novi, as we reported, unlike Diem, is “now ready for launch” because the world needs a better payment system, especially in the US, said Marcus.

The team has been working on Novi, “not just an app,” for a couple of years now and is “definitely ready now” with the current focus on ensuring compliance systems are in place.

“We want to make sure that we can earn people's trust over a long period of time. And as a result, it took a tremendous amount of effort to get operationally ready on top of a building.”

But that could be an uphill task given that people are distrustful of the social media giant and don’t want Facebook involved with their money.

“I don't think we deserve people's trust. I think we deserve a shot at earning people's trust. I think that we are well set up to do that,” said Marcus, noting that they have a track record for reducing the costs in a “very significant way” as they did with communications.

Metaverse Needs Seamless Movement Of Value

On being asked if Diem has thought of involving Bitcoin in Novi wallet, which has much more consumer familiarity than Diem, Marcus said. In contrast, a longtime Bitcoin fan doesn't see the leading cryptocurrency as a transactional currency or as a medium of exchange due to its volatility.

“I think of it as a great deal correlated investment asset… I like it but not for payments or maybe not yet. Maybe one day but not right now.”

But while Bitcoin is not coming to Novi, NFTs sure are.

Marcus explained that metaverse needs a seamless movement of value, and for that, we need new infrastructure interoperability.

“I think having programmable money and having smart contracts on top of a purpose-built blockchain is going to be transformational for the metaverse because if you're a creator you're creating in an NFT. You may want to rent your NFT or sell your NFT.”

Around NFTs, all kinds of new business models are possible that are not possible with the current payments infrastructure and without smart contracts.

But not just Novi but Facebook is planning something around non-fungible tokens as well. “It's too early to talk about our plans, but we're definitely looking at a number of ways to get involved in the space because we think we're in a really good position to do so,” said Marcus.

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