Facebook steps up plans to launch own cryptocurrency
Social networking site Facebook is set to mark its entry into the financial sector with a cryptocurrency that enables users to transfer money on its WhatsApp messaging app.
According to Bloomberg news, Facebook is taking its time as it slashes out the legal and technical issues associated with the initiative.
Cryptocurrency is marked by uncertainty and limited customer confidence but Facebook is said to be developing a stable coin — a type of digital currency pegged to the U.S. dollar — to minimize volatility.
The new method is set to begin with India where the US company enjoys a huge customer base of about 200 million WhatsApp users.
When contacted, Facebook refused to divulge details.
“Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology,” a company spokesman said in a statement.
“This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”
The initiative is one of the fruits being borne by Facebook after it hired former PayPal president David Marcus in 2014.
In May, Marcus became the head of the company’s blockchain initiatives, which haven’t been discussed publicly in detail.
Facebook has been on a hiring spree and now has about 40 people in its blockchain group, according to employee titles on LinkedIn.
Facebook, which has 2.5 billion global users, more than $40 billion in annual revenue and greater experience navigating regulatory issues, may have a better chance of making a stablecoin that sticks.
It would be the first large technology company to launch such a project.
The company’s relationship with India has been fraught, mainly because some instances of fake news spread through WhatsApp have led to violence there.
Still, Facebook sees tremendous growth opportunity in the country. India has 480 million internet users, second only to China. That number is projected to grow to 737 million by 2022, according to Forrester Research Inc.