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Facebook renames digital currency service to Novi

Facebook renames digital currency service to Novi
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress about cryptocurrency, Libra, in October. On Tuesday, Facebook, announced the digital wallet for Libra has been renamed and rebranded from Calibra to Novi. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

May 26 (UPI) -- After criticism about launching cryptocurrency, Facebook said Tuesday it's rebranding its digital wallet with a new name, Novi.

Facebook originally introduced the digital wallet for the Libra network of cryptocurrency to help people send money across the world under the name Calibra in June of last year. The digital wallet, now renamed and rebranded as Novi, allows people to send money as easy as sending a message in a stand-alone app or in Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.

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"All Novi customers will be verified using government-issued ID, and fraud protections will be built in throughout the app," Head of Novi David Marcus said in Tuesday's statement. "And, whenever you need it, you'll have 24/7 access to our chat-based support and customer care team."

"Novi was inspired by the Latin words 'novus' for "new and 'via' for 'way.' It's a new way to send money, and Novi's new visual identity and design represent the fluid movement of digital currencies," Marcus added. "We've also included a nod to the Libra icon in the brand logo to underscore our commitment to the Libra network."

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Policymakers globally raised concern in the fall about the virtual currency disrupting the global financial system, potentially risking money laundering and competing with the U.S. dollar. It also drew criticism from some Democratic lawmakers who sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ahead of his testimony before Congress on the cryptocurrency plans in October, asking Facebook to cease the cryptocurrency plan until regulators examine its potential impact.

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Now, Facebook said that although it has changed the name to Novi, it hasn't changed its mission.

"While we've changed our name from Calibra, we haven't changed our long-term commitment to helping people around the world access affordable financial services," Marcus said in the statement.

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The announcement did not reveal the rollout date yet, saying that it aimed to launch it across an initial set of countries with no hidden fees as soon as the Libra network was available.

It added that people could sign up for updates on the rollout at Novi.com.

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