Facebook's crypto chief is exploring NFT-related products and features — but views bitcoin as too volatile for transactions
By: Business Insider
August 25, 2021 at 04:51 AM EDT
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"We're definitely looking at a number of ways to get involved in the space because we think we're in a really good position to do so," David Marcus, the head of Facebook's Novi division, told Bloomberg on Tuesday. "When you have a good crypto wallet, like Novi will be, you also have to think about how to help consumers support NFTs."
NFTs are unique assets that represent digital collectibles such as music, video, virtual paintings, or land. They are encoded onto a blockchain — the same technology that underpins cryptocurrencies — and carry a digital watermark to indicate unique ownership rights to the asset.
Marcus said it was still too early to detail Facebook's NFT-related product plans, but the company's developers are on the case.
"We're definitely thinking about this," he said. "It's really an area that is worth exploring, and one where we can have a positive impact for both creators and consumers."
Marcus leads F2, or Facebook Financial, the internal team behind the social-media group's Novi digital wallet. He said Facebook might consider launching Novi without Diem, the digital currency previously known as Libra, as "a last resort." Diem's launch has been delayed due to regulatory concerns over data privacy and potential money-laundering issues.
Even so, Facebook hopes Novi will be used to reduce transaction costs and make cross-border payments more efficient. In a blog last week, Marcus revealed Novi is ready to come to market. But the company has been waiting to launch it alongside Diem since both are required to change the way payments would be made.
As for bitcoin, Marcus said he doesn't view the leading cryptocurrency as a good medium of exchange. Still, he said it's a "really great" investment asset.
"If you're sending money around the world, you can't have the value of the asset that you send decrease by 20% in a day or 10% in a day. That's a volatility that's actually inappropriate for payments," he said. "Maybe one day but not right now."
Bitcoin was last trading around $47,900 per coin on Wednesday. The digital asset is 65% higher so far this year, but still 26% lower than its record high near $65,000 in mid-April.