Facebook has been conversing with “dozens” of e-commerce companies and financial firms in search of supporters for “Project Libra,” its cryptocurrency payments service, according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal. Visa and Mastercard are among those that Facebook has allegedly been in talks with.
Facebook announced the launch of a cryptocurrency to be used in conjunction with WhatsApp, its encrypted messenger subsidiary, earlier this year. Although not many specifics are known about the project, the cryptocurrency will allegedly be pegged on a 1-to-1 ration with the US Dollar. WhatsApp users could then use the cryptocurrency to send money to each other.
Now, the social media giant is apparently hoping that supporters of the project will accept the cryptocurrency in exchange for their products and services. According to the report, Facebook may eventually make it possible for its payment service to be embedded within third-party apps and websites, similar to the way that Facebook’s login services and “like” button is integrated across the web today.
Facebook Seeks to Expand its Cryptocurrency into e-Commerce
Another idea that is reportedly under consideration is using the Project Libra tokens to reward Facebook users with small amounts of the cryptocurrency in exchange for viewing advertisements. However, no mention has been made of the possibility of using the cryptocurrency to reward users in exchange for sharing their data, which adds zeros onto Facebook’s revenues each year.
According to a report by CNBC, Project Libra is part of a larger shift that Facebook is making toward privacy and private commerce. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has spoken extensively about the possibility of e-commerce taking off on Facebook and its applications.
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“What we expect is as we build out more commerce-related features around shopping and Instagram and Marketplace and Facebook and certainly the private social platform that I’ve been talking about, I think will lend itself to private interactions around payments and commerce and interacting with businesses in that way,” he said in a keynote speech during Facebook Inc’s annual F8 developers conference on April 30th.
And indeed, the company is most likely seeking a new way to be profitable in the wake of a changing web economy. Henry Liu, a former Facebook employee and managing partner of enterprise blockchain investment firm YGC told CNBC that “payments and commerce are Facebook’s only way out from its freemium, advertisement business model.”