Facebook seeks $1bn for crypto-based payments system

It is looking to get various big hitters involved, including Visa and Mastercard, according to media reports

Facebook is recruiting a number of companies to help launch and fund a planned fiat-backed cryptocurrency.

A report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), citing people familiar with the plans, claims that the social media giant is talking to the likes of Visa, Mastercard and First Data Corp as part of a project dubbed ‘Project Libra’. These companies are being asked to pitch into an investment fund, valued at around $1 billion.

“It is also talking to e-commerce companies and apps about accepting the coin, and would seek smaller financial investments from those partners, one of the people said,” it added.

Users could send the coin to their Facebook friends and also make purchases in-app and online. This being Facebook, the company is also looking at ways to link the project to ads. “One idea being considered is that users could click ads to buy a product and pay with Facebook tokens, which the retailer could then recycle to pay for more ads, one person said. Facebook rolled out a similar feature, using dollars and traditional card payments, on Instagram, which it owns, in March,” the WSJ reports.

Bloomberg and The New York Times previously reported that Facebook was developing a digital coin to allow WhatsApp users to transfer money.

“Like many other companies, we are exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology,” the company said in a statement. “We are exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”

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