[Update: 14 June 2019, 6pm]
Facebook’s upcoming cryptocurrency will be called Libra, TechCrunch reported last week.
It will be unveiled on 18 June, but will officially launch only in 2020.
Yesterday (June 13), The Wall Street Journal revealed that Facebook has secured the backing of over a dozen companies for its cryptocurrency.
This includes major financial organisations like Visa and Mastercard, as well as tech giants like PayPal, Uber, Stripe and Booking.com.
Each of these companies will invest around US$10 million to fund the development of the cryptocurrency.
They will also become part of the Libra Association, which is an independent consortium that will govern the digital coin independently of Facebook.
Social media giant Facebook is in talks with United States and British financial regulators to launch its own cryptocurrency next year, reported BBC News.
Facebook plans to roll out its own crypto in “a dozen countries” by the first quarter of 2020, with trials beginning by end of this year.
It is slated to be introduced first in India, where Facebook hopes it will allow Indian workers abroad to send money back home to their families using WhatsApp.
Called ‘GlobalCoin’, the crypto is expected to offer users affordable and secure payments without the need for a bank account.
Reports suggest that the currency could be designed to be a “stablecoin,” with a value pegged to US currency in an attempt to minimise volatility.
Potential US$19B Additional Revenue For Facebook
Financial Times previously reported that Facebook has been in talks with the Winklevoss’ twins’ Gemini cryptocurrency exchange about Facebook’s planned digital coin.
It has also met up with multiple high-frequency trading firms, money transfer firms, and bank officials in recent months to discuss operational and regulatory issues relating to the cryptocurrency.
Facebook has a lot of work to do to convince users to trust GlobalCoin following its history of privacy scandals.
Regardless, with over two billion users across its platforms (including WhatsApp and Instagram), Facebook could have the clout to take a cryptocurrency mainstream and emulate the likes of WeChat in China.
WeChat allows its users to chat, shop and play games without leaving its platform, generating more revenue by offering a one-stop portal.
Barclays internet analyst Ross Sandler predicted that the cryptocurrency could allow Facebook to earn as much as US$19 billion in additional revenue by 2021.
Meanwhile, reports of a Facebook coin lifted cryptocurrencies on Friday.
Bitcoin climbed 5% to around $7,960, while ethereum and bitcoin cash jumped about 7% and litecoin surged 11%.
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