Facebook may launch its won cryptocurrency as early as the first half of this year – and the social media giant is working with crypto exchanges to be responsible for holding the digital coins. Rocked by the Cambridge Analytica data breach, Facebook believes the existing crypto platforms have a greater experience navigating regulatory issues, and also a better chance of vetting customers.
Per a report by The New York Times, sources familiar with the project revealed that more than 50 engineers are currently working on the new cryptocurrency that will be functional over the company-owned WhatsApp network. It seems like the company has also rapidly expanded its blockchain department making many new hires recently.
The report also claims that the Mark Zuckerberg-led company has dedicated a standalone office for the crypto team alongside separate key-card access “so other Facebook employees cannot get in.”
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A stablecoin pegged to the dollar, euro, and other currencies
Sources have suggested that Facebook is working on a stable coin, but the cryptocurrency will be pegged to a basket of different foreign currencies, rather than just the US dollar. With this concept, Facebook is planning to minimize volatility as “a stable value would not be attractive to speculators,” three people briefed on the plans said.
The Times report also cited five people familiar with the project as saying the company is working to connect its encrypted mobile-messaging apps with Instagram to extend the reach of its cryptocurrency to over 2.7 billion global users.
A previous report from Bloomberg claims that the Facebook coin may be initially launched in Asia and that the new cryptocurrency may first see the light in India thanks to its burgeoning population of 1.3 billion people, out of which WhatsApp has a hold on 200 million.
Of note, former PayPal President David Marcus, who moved to Facebook to run its messenger app in 2014, now runs the company’s secretive blockchain initiative.