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Meta (formerly Facebook) has announced that it will be shutting down Novi, the company’s digital wallet on September 1. This brings to an end the Libra stablecoin experiment  three years after teh social media giant unveiled its ambitious plans to operate a single global digital currency (similar to a stablecoin).
This comes after years unsucessful launch attempts and regulatory scrutiny. The legal battles started just as the tech firm announced its plans to develo a cryptocurrency. On November 3, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, testified in front of Congress idefending the operatuin of their planned cryptocurrency, Libra. 
There were a number of concerns that Fecebood, now Meta, would sidestep regulators in the production and release of the new cryptocurrency, due to the large amount of pushback it received from U.S. and European regulators.
The Zuckerberg led firm seems to have given in to these pushbacks when it abandoned its stablecoin-oriented plans for Novi with after its ability to combat money laundering, protect consumers and monitor other security and financial risks came into question. 
In an effort to reinvent itself, the company scaled and retraced their steps, including the rebranding of not only Libra to Novi in October 2021, but also the company from Facebook to Meta in November the same year. 
The rebranding of the Libra wallet to Novi was inspired by the Latin words novus (vew) and via (way), clearing the path for a new way for crypto payments to be made across the company’s social media platforms. This was aimed at clearing up some of the confusions surrounding the previous version.  
Novi started out as a beta version, with Coinbase serving as a custodian. The goal was to giev users the ability to send money “as easily as they send messages.” It was unclear whether the platform would give investors the ability to buy cryptocurrency from online exchanges. 
Novi became a money-transfer pilot for crypto-based remittances in 2020 – but it never got beyond the United States and Guatemala.
After launching the beta version, Novi came with a promise of a stablecoin called Diem. However, that crypto also did not see the light of day, at least from Meta’s oversight.
Less than a year later, Meta Platforms Inc. is officially pulling the plug on the remainder of the cryptocurrency project that Zuckerberg took a beating over from Congress. The note on the company’s Novi website reads that the wallet will not “be available for use after September 1.”
It also issues a warning to existing users to withdraw all their funds stored on the platform before the date as they would not be able to access them after that. 
From July 21, users will not be able to add money to their accounts. The Novi app and Novi’s WhatsApp account will also be unavailable. Moreover, once the service is completely stopped, users will lose access to their transaction history and other related data. 
The unwinding of Meta’s ambitions for Novi is happening in the wake of a deepening downturn in crypto markets occasioned by the collapse of projects like Terra’s UST and liquidity woes at key companies like Celsius Network and Three Arrows Capital.
Despite these scaling back efforts, Meta has been expanding its test to support non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with plans to roll out these digital art items on Instagram.
Even though Meta is calling it quits on its efforts to develop a globally operational stablecoin and crypto payment system, it is not out of the crypto industry yet. 
Last month, Meta announced that it would begin testing NFTs on Instagram Stories. The tests will be facilitated using Meta’s Spark AR augmented reality.
NFTs on Instagram
We’re testing ways for creators and collectors to share NFTs they’ve created or own on Instagram with a shimmer effect.
— Instagram (@instagram) May 10, 2022

Speaking on the news, Zuckerberg explained that Meta was looking to expand tests for the NFTs, ensuring that creators will be able to display their tokens on Instagram regardless of where they are in the world.
The platform is going to support NFTs based on Ethereum, Polygon, Solana, and Flow blockchains. However, the company is not planning to charge users for posting their crypto art. In January 2022, Twitter introduced a feature that allows users to use NFTs as their profile pictures on the social media platform. The feature was only available to the users paying $2.99 a month for the Twitter Blue service. 
You asked (a lot), so we made it. Now rolling out in Labs: NFT Profile Pictures on iOS
— Twitter Blue (@TwitterBlue) January 20, 2022

To start, Instagram will launch the feature for the United States users only. The updates on support in other countries were to be made later. For one to post an NFT on the gram, they need to add their wallets to the social media platform. This way, the individual can prove the ownership of their NFTs. 
In future, Meta plans to implement minting capabilities within the platform and create group membership options dedicated to NFTs. 
Apart from Instagram, Meta has also confirmed that Facebook will support NFTs as well. Zuckerberg explained that the developers were ae looking to begin tests with a small group of creators in the United States, so users can cross-post NFTs on Instagram and Facebook.
Despite Meta’s low entry into the NFT space in comparison to many other platforms, the company has been making impressive progress nonetheless. In May, the company began testing digital collectibles on Instagram, giving the first signs that it would support NFTs.
Speaking with Impact Theory’s Tom Bilyeu, Zuckerberg explained that the move was the first major step toward allowing collectors and creators to display their NFTs on other apps that are part of Meta platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook, and Messenger.

Next NFT to Blow Up – Lucky Block
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  This article was written for Business 2 Community by Nancy Lubale.
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