David Marcus, the leader of Facebook parent company Meta’s cryptocurrency operations, said on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021, that he will be leaving the firm at the end of the year. His departure comes after the company’s failed attempt to create a cryptocurrency that could be used to send money to anyone using Facebook goods anywhere in the world.
Marcus joined Facebook in August of 2014, after a two-year stint as president of PayPal. His initial role at Facebook was as vice president in charge of the company’s Messenger service. He left the Messenger division to launch Facebook’s financial projects unit in May 2018 and in June 2019, that division launched the company’s Libra blockchain currency and Calibra digital wallet, stating that both projects would go online in 2020. However, after lawmakers and authorities throughout the world slammed Facebook’s cryptocurrency ambitions, neither project saw the light of day in 2020. In October, the company renamed its digital wallet product ‘Novi’ and released it.
Marcus’s position at Facebook (Meta) will be taken over by former Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel, who previously worked as the Head of Product at Novi.
In a tweet thread announcing his departure, Marcus wrote, “While there’s still so much to do right after launching Novi — and I’m as enthusiastic as ever about the need for transformation in our payments and financial systems.” “For too many mornings in a row, my entrepreneurial DNA has been prodding me to take action.” After a fulfilling seven years at Meta, I’ve decided to step down and leave the firm at the end of the year,’ he added.
“Without your leadership, we wouldn’t have taken such a big swing at Diem, and I’m pleased you’ve made Meta a place where we make such large bets,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Marcus’s Facebook profile.
Marcus has long been a prominent presence in the crypto ecosystem, having been one of the first tech CEOs to embrace bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies during his time as President of PayPal. His time as head of the crypto at Facebook has primarily been characterized by setbacks, as the company’s Diem cryptocurrency project has faced considerable industry and regulatory criticism, prompting the company to slow down the rollout of new crypto initiatives. The business launched a modest test of its cryptocurrency wallet Novi earlier this year, allowing users in the United States and Guatemala to use the software to exchange “stablecoin” cryptocurrencies.
Breakdown of Meta’s Cryptocurrency: Novi
Novi is a digital wallet that enables users to transfer and receive money internationally instantly, securely, and without incurring any costs. Novi begins by employing USDP (Pax Dollar), a secure blockchain-based digital money. In the near future, it will be available in other Facebook apps like Messenger and WhatsApp. Novi believes that the world advances as money circulates more freely.
On October 19, 2021, Facebook officially launched a “limited pilot” of its Novi digital wallet in the United States and Guatemala, more than two years after it was first promised. The experimental service, which is being developed in partnership with Coinbase, will let users to send and receive money “instantly, securely, and without fees” using the Paxos stablecoin (which will be serving as the custody partner that holds the actual funds for the pilot).
Novi, on the other hand, started without its most crucial feature: the Diem cryptocurrency, which was supposed to be the project’s cornerstone and was supported by Facebook. Diem was formerly known as Libra, but the name was changed to distinguish the now-independent organization from Facebook, which was responsible for its birth. Diem has yet to launch its cryptocurrency in any jurisdiction, and regulatory approval is still pending.
When Libra was first introduced, it drew a lot of flak, with numerous big partners (including PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, eBay, Stripe, and Mercado Pago) dropping out just a few months after it was established. After stopping preparations to obtain regulatory permission for its stablecoin in Switzerland, the business recently relocated its operations back to the United States.
In October 2021, a group of US politicians expressed concern about Facebook’s handling of cryptocurrency. Senators also demanded that the tech company discontinue its trial program immediately. Democratic senators Brian Schatz, Sherrod Brown, Richard Blumenthal, Elizabeth Warren, and Tina Smith were among those who signed the letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “Facebook cannot be trusted to handle a payment system or digital currency,” they said, “because its current ability to manage risks and keep users secure has proven insufficient.” “We strongly encourage you to terminate the Novi pilot program immediately and pledge not to bring Diem to market,” they added.
Once governmental authority is received, Facebook plans to convert Novi to Diem, a cryptocurrency it supports. Novi’s goal has always been interoperability with other digital wallets, according to Facebook. The digital wallet idea was first introduced in conjunction with Facebook’s libra stablecoin, a project that has been stymied by regulators seeking to limit the scope of Facebook’s original crypto vision.