Facebook to Launch Its Own Virtual Currency
VIRTUAL CURRENCY – Facebook is reportedly preparing to launch its very own virtual currency, referred to as GlobalCoin.
The company is getting ready to launch the digital payments system in about 12 countries by the first quarter of next year. The testing of the new cryptocurrency would take place by the end of the current year.
According to the reports, Facebook will be providing more details about its plans this summer.
The currency, which aims to provide people with cheap and secure payments even without the need for a bank account, will face a number of technical and regulatory hurdles.
Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg reportedly met last month with Bank of England Governor Mark Carney to talk about the opportunities and risks of the digital currency.
The company, however, will probably face greater challenges in India, which is notorious for its hostility towards cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
According to reports, India is a key focus for the social media giant’s new currency. Facebook hopes that the currency would enable Indian workers abroad to send money using WhatsApp.
The company has also sought some backing from the US Treasury and money-transfer firms like Western Union. It has been in discussions for operational and regulatory issues revolving around the cryptocurrency.
The plans for Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans were first heard last May. Reports have said that David Marcus, who previously served on Coinbase board of directors and was PayPal’s president in 2012 and 2014, was heading the company’s new blockchain division.
Then, last December, there were reports of the company’s plans for a digital currency, which was then nicknamed “Project Libra.”
Facebook will be coordinating with banks and brokers that will let people exchange dollars and other currencies into its digital currencies.
Further, the social media network is holding meetings with a number of online merchants, aiming to convince them to accept the currency as payment in return for lower transaction fees.
More reports suggest that the GlobalCoin could be programmed to be a “stablecoin” whose value is pegged to the greenback to ward off too much volatility.
On the other hand, even without the volatility linked to most cryptocurrencies, Facebook will still have to work hard to get its users’ trust towards its cryptocurrency after years of criticisms that dented the social media platform’s public images.
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