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Jan. 26, 2022, 9:18 p.m. EST

Facebook’s foray into crypto is quietly ending

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Peter Rudegeair, Liz Hoffman

Facebook’s ambitious effort to bring cryptocurrency to the masses has failed.

The Diem Association, the consortium Facebook founded in 2019 to build a futuristic payments network, is winding down and selling its technology to a small California bank that serves bitcoin and blockchain companies for about $200 million, a person familiar with the matter said.

The bank, Silvergate Capital Corp.  /zigman2/quotes/214908078/composite SI +3.67% , had earlier reached a deal with Diem to issue some of the stablecoins — which are backed by hard dollars and designed to be less volatile than bitcoin and other digital currencies — that were at the heart of the effort.

The sale represents an effort to squeeze some remaining value from  a venture that was challenged  almost from the start. Facebook, now Meta Platforms Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB +1.39% launched the project in 2019 as Libra , pitching it as a way for the social network’s billions of users to spend money as easily as sending a text message.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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