Social giant Facebook is in the process of finalising plans to launch its own cryptocurrency, with the BBC reporting that company plans to do so by the first quarter of 2020.
The company is planning to set up its own digital payment system and wants to have it rolled out in around a dozen countries at the start of next year. In order to meet this target, it plans to test this currency out before the end of this year.
The currency is being referred to internally as GlobalCoin and Facebook is expected to reveal more of its plans later this summers. However, it is believed that the company has already held discussions with Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England.
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with Carney last month to talk about the risks and opportunities involved with setting up a cryptocurrency. Furthermore, Facebook sought advice from US Treasury officials about potential regulatory and operational issues.
The company’s goals with the cryptocurrency is to provide a secure and affordable way for people to make payments whether or not the user has a bank account. Facebook wants to ‘disrupt’ existing networks by changing financial barriers and to compete with banks while reducing costs to the consumer.
The project, which is known as Project Libra, was first reported on in December last year, and will see the company establish relationships with both banks and brokers to enable people to exchange US dollars, the UK pound sterling and other currencies, into digital coins. Furthermore, it is believed to be in negotiations with numerous online merchants to agree a deal to accept the new currency as payment for lower transaction fees.
Prior to its launch, GlobalCoin will have to overcome these regulatory and technical hurdles. It may face opposition from a number of parties, including the nation of India, which has been hostile in accepting virtual currencies. The Asian nation is believed to be a key focus for GlobalCoin, with Facebook hoping Indian workers employed abroad will be able to send funds back to India through messaging app WhatsApp.
Regardless of views on cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin being one of the major currencies, Facebook will still have to work hard at gaining trust from users following plenty of high-profile privacy and data scandals that have been tarnishing the company’s reputation. Would people trust it with their money if they can’t trust it with their personal data?