Philippine Central Bank, Novi, VASP

Philippine central bank removes Novi from exclusive list of VASP licensees

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Philippines central bank, has removed Novi from its list of registered Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) following the winding up of its operations. The firm gained approval from BSP in January, but nine months later, things fell apart for the digital wallet.

Novi, Meta’s (NASDAQ: META) digital wallet, had announced to users that it was shutting down on September 1 and asked customers to withdraw all funds “as soon as possible.” A notice was issued on Facebook saying that the Novi pilot has ended, and individuals who failed to withdraw their balance still have several options available to them.

“If you did not withdraw your Novi account balance prior to the pilot ending, we will attempt to transfer your funds to the bank account or payment method linked to your Novi account,” said Meta. “In some instances, we may be unable to process a transfer, and you will need to contact us to claim your balance.”

As Novi shuts down its activities, the BSP has moved to strike out its name from the list of digital asset operators in the country. According to the latest official document, only 18 firms currently have a license from BSP to provide digital asset services to consumers.

Obtaining regulatory approval to operate in the Philippines is a herculean task, given BSP’s unfavorable stance towards digital assets. Beginning September 1, the central bank announced that it had halted applications for new digital asset firms for three years, subject to reassessment based on market developments.

BSP notes that the move is to “strike a balance between promoting innovation in the financial sector and ensuring that associated risks remain within manageable levels.” Following the FTX collapse, BSP Governor Felipe Medalla seized the moment to warn Filipino investors of the inherent dangers of virtual currencies.

The road ahead for Novi

Although the curtains have fallen on Novi and its Diem project, Meta is not giving up on its ambitions to provide digital asset services to its users. The tech giant has confirmed that it uses the technology and lessons learned so far for its future forays in the industry.

Meta has already made significant forays with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), incorporating them into Instagram and a planned expansion to Facebook. As plans for its metaverse heighten, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that a new digital wallet is being developed to store “digital clothing, art, videos, music, experiences, and virtual events.”

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