David Marcus, the person who spearheaded Facebook's (now Meta's) Novi wallet project, has announced he will be leaving the social media company at the end of the year. Marcus has been associated with Meta for seven years, serving as VP of messaging products from 2014 before co-creating the Diem cryptocurrency and taking over Novi (previously Calibra) in 2018. Marcus had previously led the development of several startups, including Echovox and Zong, and also served in leadership roles at PayPal. The current VP of product for Novi, Stephane Kasriel, is being promoted to the top spot.
"While there's still so much to do right on the heels of hitting an important milestone with Novi launching — and I remain as passionate as ever about the need for change in our payments and financial systems — my entrepreneurial DNA has been nudging me for too many mornings in a row to continue ignoring it," Marcus said in a tweet.
In response, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said, "We wouldn't have taken such a big swing at Diem without your leadership and I'm grateful you've made Meta a place where we make those big bets."
Marcus joined Facebook from PayPal in 2014 and had run the social media company's Messenger chat service before switching to work on the social media company's finance arm. Facebook, which rebranded last month as Meta, scaled back global rollout plans for Diem following concerns among regulators that the service could gain too much control over the money system, and in turn, enable crime and harm users' privacy.
The goal of the project, previously known as Libra, now is to create a stable coin pegged to the US dollar - named Diem, to avoid the volatility that makes other cryptocurrencies challenging to use.
Facebook has already begun testing Novi in Guatemala and the US, allowing transfers of the stable coin Pax Dollar. But some US lawmakers have expressed concern stating that Facebook cannot be trusted to manage cryptocurrency and urged the company to discontinue the test immediately.
Meanwhile, Meta has been heading full steam towards creating a metaverse ecosystem where people connect with virtual and augmented elements and that's someplace where the Diem digital currency has a potential use case for payments. This comes, coincidentally, soon another major Bitcoin proponent stepped down from a social media company, as Jack Dorsey, announced the end of his second run as Twitter CEO. The move could likely free him to focus more on his role as CEO of Square, which is pushing several new cryptocurrency initiatives.
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