Novi digital wallet
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Social media giant Meta (previously known as Facebook) will be conducting a limited trial of the Novi digital wallet on its messaging platform WhatsApp, the head of Novi said on Twitter on 9 December.

According to Stephane Kasriel’s Twitter thread, the new feature will be available only to a “limited number of people” in the United States, which will be able to send and receive money on WhatsApp through Novi, “instantly and with no fees”. Kasriel also assured users that using Novi will have no effect on the privacy of their WhatsApp messages and calls, which are “always end-to-end encrypted”. The head of Novi also stated that:

“We’re still very early in the Novi pilot journey, so we made the decision to test this new entry point in one country to start and will look to extend it once we’ve heard from people what they think of this new experience.”

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The digital wallet subsidiary of Meta first launched a pilot version of its product — in partnership with crypto exchange Coinbase and stablecoin provider Paxos — back in mid-October. In these six weeks, the Novi team has been testing and learning which features and functionalities are “most important to people” in order to improve the wallet’s user experience.

The release of Novi’s pilot version did not go without some drama, however. The same day the wallet was launched, five U.S. senators penned a letter to Mark Zuckerberg demanding he “immediately discontinue” the project. The social media giant has also faced an immense regulatory backlash over its plans to launch the Diem stablecoin, so much so it was forced to downscale the project.

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