Libra digital wallet and Facebook subsidiary Calibra has been rebranded to Novi. Although now known by a new name, the digital wallet still maintains its goal of making financial services accessible to more people globally.
From Calibra to Novi
The news of the rebranding was made by social media giant Facebook on Tuesday (May 26, 2020). According to the announcement, the new name is gotten from the combination of the Latin terms “novus” meaning “new” and “via” meaning “way”, while the rebranded wallet represents a new and easier way to send funds globally.
The name change is the Association’s way of making sure the wallet app isn’t painted with the same brush as the payment gateway infrastructure (Libra). Libra hopes that by distinguishing between the two, regulators will judge Novi on its own merit.
David Marcus also took to his Twitter handle to announced the news, stating that the introduction of Libra back in June 2019 created more confusion.
The renamed digital wallet, which is a product of Novi Financial, will carry the Libra logo. Novi Financial is an independent subsidiary of Facebook. Furthermore, there is no specific launch date for the first Novi version which will initially be released in select countries. An excerpt from the statement reads:
“Our hope is to introduce an early version of Novi when the Libra network is available. We’ll roll it out in an initial set of countries, with features that will make cross-border money transfers instant, secure, and with no hidden fees.”
Also, the rebranded wallet will be integrated into Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, and would also come as a standalone app. Furthermore, the Novi wallet app will bolster security by having in-built fraud protection and there will be verification for users through government-issued ID before accessing Novi.
Libra’s Tussle With Regulatory Agencies the World Over
Facebook and the Libra Association have faced lots of backlash from regulators and governments globally, with many believing that Libra was designed to threaten the global financial system.
Following calls for a moratorium on the project, several hearings, and the departure of some members of the Libra Consortium due to regulatory concerns, the Association decided to revamp the Libra project in April 2020, introducing Libra 2.0 version.
Part of the changes made to the original whitepaper was the introduction of different stablecoins pegged to a number of different sovereign currencies, as against the initial plan of a stablecoin pegged to a basket of fiat currencies.