Facebook’s mission is to “bring the world closer together.” Increasingly, that’s not just about connecting friends and family to share messages, but also serving as a platform for people’s financial lives.
Some $100 billion in payments have been enabled by Facebook over the past year, said David Marcus, who runs the company’s financial services unit. But that’s just the start of the social network’s ambitions in the finance industry, Mr. Marcus writes in a new memo about the country’s “broken” payments system, reported in the DealBook newsletter.
At the center of Facebook’s push into payments is Novi, a digital wallet intended for users to move money around the world quickly and cheaply (free, in many cases). The company had plans to pair it with a “stablecoin” cryptocurrency called Libra, but that was shelved amid regulatory scrutiny, and now the scaled-back project, known as Diem, is overseen by an outside nonprofit group seeking the necessary government approvals.
In recounting some of Facebook’s setbacks in trying to break into the crypto payments industry, Mr. Marcus describes the tech giant, the subject of antitrust inquiries around the world, as an underdog.