Facebook is on the verge of launching its cryptocurrency next year, reports the BBC. Internally the currency is known as “GlobalCoin,” and the project itself is known as “Project Libra.” However, it’s not known if either of these names will be used as the currency’s name when it debuts to the public (hint: probably not).
Facebook seems to be in advanced stages of planning the cryptocurrency, as the BBC reports that Mark Zuckerberg himself met with the Bank of England’s governor Mark Carney to discuss the opportunities and risks of launching a cryptocurrency. Facebook has also sought advice on regulatory and operational issues from the U.S. Treasury Department, suggesting the company’s cryptocurrency plans are in the end stages.
Facebook is also reportedly in talks with money transfer firms like Western Union, as it hopes to find cheaper and faster ways for people without bank accounts to send money abroad. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook is also already in talks with some online merchants to accept the currency as a valid form of payment when it launches.
Of course, anyone who follows cryptocurrencies will know that virtually anyone can launch their own coin–it doesn’t take a company with the power or money of Facebook to do so. But they’ll also know that cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile. The coins can be riding high one day, and crashing the next. The BBC says Facebook is hoping to get around this volatility with its cryptocurrency by pegging it to a basket of established currencies, including the Japanese yen, the euro, and the U.S. dollar.
The end game for Facebook in the cryptocurrency wars is to elevate its coin above all others and make it the de facto leader among cryptocurrencies that people turn to–and, of course, to elevate the use of cryptocurrencies as a whole. Despite all their attention, cryptocurrencies only have about 30 million users worldwide. That seems like a lot until you compare it with Facebook’s user base of 2.4 billion people. If Facebook could get even 10% of those users to begin using its cryptocurrency, it could be a true watershed moment in the history of cryptocurrencies.
Author: Michael Grathaus