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Facebook developing a stablecoin to enable transactions on WhatsApp: Report

Will you trust a digital currency made by Facebook after all the privacy concerns this year?

  • Published: December 21, 2018 12:55 PM IST
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Facebook and its privacy problems do not seem to have an end, just not yet. But that does not mean the company is stopping from developing new features for its services. According to Bloomberg, the social media giant is working on making a cryptocurrency that will allow its users to transfer money on its WhatsApp messaging application.

The company has been working on a form of cryptocurrency for sometime now and has even escalated David Marcus to the role of exploring blockchain. Now, Bloomberg reports that Facebook is developing a stablecoin that will minimize volatility seen with other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The social media company is far from releasing the coin and is said to be still working on the strategy. It is is planning for custody assets or regular currencies that would be held to protect the value of its stablecoin, sources familiar with Facebook’s plan told the publication.

These efforts are being led by Marcus himself, who was elevated from his lead role running Messenger app to head of company’s blockchain initiatives. The report says Facebook has been on a hiring spree and now counts about 40 people in the blockchain group.

“Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share,” a company spokesman told Bloomberg in a statement.

Facebook wants to use its stablecoin as a means of exchanging money on WhatsApp, the social messaging app used by over 1.5 billion people around the world. The service is popular in India, where it is estimated to have over 250 million users and working on launching UPI-based payment solutions for all of its users. Facebook is also encouraged by the fact that India leads the world in remittances, where people sent $69 billion home to India in 2017, according to data from the World Bank.

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In the past year, the number of projects surrounding stablecoins have gone up significantly. The concept is meant to create a digital coin that would be easier to use on a daily basis that something like a bitcoin. However, the idea has proven tough to replicate in real life and existing stablecoins such as Basis and Tether have been surrounded by controversies.

Facebook has been experimenting with a lot of ideas as its user growth has reached a point of saturation. The company has acquired platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp to expand its reach and is now looking for new ways to make money from these services. However, with new move it takes, there will be increased skepticism and scrutiny, since the company has letdown its users multiple times in the past year alone.

  • Published Date: December 21, 2018 12:55 PM IST