Novi, formerly known as Calibra, was conceived to create branding distance between the wallet and the Libra Project
Yesterday, Facebook announced that it had renamed a key component of the Libra Project. The company’s digital wallet, which is expected to launch later this year, is now known as “Novi” and not “Calibra.”
David Marcus, head of Libra, explained on Facebook that the old name was too close to the name of the project’s digital currency, Libra. The name change is to ensure that there is “clear differentiation and clarity” between the two.
“We can’t wait to start rolling it out as soon as Libra mainnet goes live.” Marcus wrote in his post.
Prior to his work with Libra, Marcus was the President of PayPal.
The wallet service is an important part of Facebook’s plan to develop a new global payment service that is based around blockchain technology. Even though the Libra network is being created in such a way that any user can build a compatible wallet, the Nova wallet will be offered by default. This means that it will likely be the one that Facebook’s billions of users will opt for.
In June 2019, Facebook formally announced the Libra project with hopes to have it fully launched by the end of the year. However, the project quickly became stuck in political and regulatory controversy, which led to several high-profile partners — such as Visa, Stripe and PayPal — to cut ties.
However, Libra appears to be regaining its momentum, with the e-commerce giant Shopify recently announcing a partnership with the project. In addition, regulators also seem placated by Facebook’s decision to change Libra from a single global currency to a set of national cryptocurrencies. The project has also reconsidered its plans of turning Libra into a decentralised network like Bitcoin, opting instead to make it more tightly controlled.
The Project’s move to rebrand Calibra is also partly a response to complaints made by Current, a banking startup which pointed out significant similarities between the logos of the two brands. The Novi logo, which Marcus explains is a combination of the Latin words “novus” (new) and “via” (way), is clearly distinct from both companies.
While no announcements have been made, court records suggest that Facebook and Current settled a legal case on alleged trademark infringement sometime this month.
A spokesperson from Facebook did not clarify whether the name change was influenced by trademark issues; however, they did say that the new name was made to avoid confusion between the Calibra and Libra.