Facebook reportedly ready to launch its digital coin

Photo (c) CHENG FENG CHIANG - Getty Images

The company may recruit outsiders to control the currency

Facebook is moving ahead with plans to launch its own cryptocurrency but it intends to turn over control to outside backers, which the company hopes will reassure financial regulators.

That’s the report from The Information, a website covering the technology industry. The site suggests Facebook is willing to give up that kind of control in order to encourage more people to use the digital payment system.

The publication quotes Facebook employees who work on the project, called Libra, as saying they have been offered the option of being paid in cash or the cryptocurrency token.

According to The Information, the market for the new Facebook cryptocurrency is “developing nations where government-backed currencies are more volatile.”

The token will reportedly be mainly used in promoting Facebook’s products such as WhatsApp and Messenger, but the company is also planning ATM-like physical terminals. There will also be sign-up bonuses for merchants who accept Facebook’s cryptocurrency as payment.

First reported six months ago

As early as last December, it was reported that Facebook was working on developing a cryptocurrency that would let users transfer money on its WhatsApp messaging app.

Employees familiar with the company’s internal plan were cited as sources who said that the rumored cryptocurrency was in the works. However, the social media giant was said to be a long way from releasing its “stablecoin” -- a digital currency tied to the U.S. dollar to minimize volatility.

Facebook is now expected to take the wraps off its new digital coin sometime this month. The social media giant has solicited a number of technology companies and financial institutions to join an independent foundation to set and enforce rules for the new currency.

A Facebook digital coin might expedite the company’s move into e-commerce, providing a preferred way to pay for things. At a recent developers conference, Facebook provided some details of its e-commerce plans, using its current platforms to let users make purchases.

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