Facebook has announced the launch of its own cryptocurrency.
The social media giant this morning revealed its white paper for Libra – a coin that can be used across its vast network of more than two billion users.
They will be able to transfer money and purchase goods without fees.
Rumours of a potential foray into the cryptocurrency space emerged last year when the California-based platform began secretly hiring blockchain-savvy executives and cryptocurrency experts.
Facebook’s founder – Mark Zuckerberg – has remained tight-lipped about the project, which will deliver a powerful new revenue stream to the embattled company which is currently facing a potential federal antitrust investigation as well as probes into its data privacy policies.
In a statement released minutes ago, Facebook said Libra would be available under a project labelled ‘Calibra’.
“Today we’re sharing plans for Calibra, a newly formed Facebook subsidiary whose goal is to provide financial services that will let people access and participate in the Libra network,” it said.
“The first product, Calibra, will introduce a digital wallet for Libra, a new global currency powered by blockchain technology.
“The wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp, and as a standalone app — and we expect to launch in 2020.”
In the announcement, Facebook says it has taken the step into cryptocurrency to spread social good among financially challenged communities.
“For many people around the world, even basic financial services are still out of reach: almost half of the adults in the world don’t have an active bank account and those numbers are worse in developing countries and even worse for women,” the statement added.
“The cost of that exclusion is high — approximately 70% of small businesses in developing countries lack access to credit and $25 billion is lost by migrants every year through remittance fees.
“This is the challenge we’re hoping to address with Calibra, a new digital wallet that you’ll be able to use to save, send, and spend Libra.”
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