Facebook staff “feel pretty committed” to the launch this year of a digital wallet that would allow its 2.9 billion users to store cryptocurrencies, said David Marcus, the social network’s top crypto executive, in an extended interview with The Information. That release could potentially happen before the introduction of diem, the digital currency that the company is separately helping to develop, he said.
Although Marcus has publicly stated that Facebook was getting closer to launching its Novi wallet, his comments marked the most specific timeline he has provided. They signal that Facebook in the coming months will start playing a direct role in the $2 trillion crypto market—possibly exposing billions of people to digital currencies for the first time—and entering a market dominated by Coinbase and Gemini, which operate crypto wallets for their traders.
Marcus said he would prefer to introduce the Novi wallet together with diem, a form of digital currency known as a stablecoin that would be tied to the U.S. dollar. But that rollout is largely in the hands of the Facebook-backed nonprofit in charge of the new stablecoin. Marcus, who is on the Diem Association’s board, said he didn’t have much visibility into the regulatory process involving the stablecoin. In the interview, Marcus also discussed dogecoin, ethereum, bitcoin, and the need for regulations to protect individual investors who “basically lose all of their money.”