Facebook plans to launch its own cryptocurrency, called Libra, in the first quarter of 2020, according to information released Friday by the BBC. Entitled GlobalCoin for the moment, this virtual money project, initially revealed by Bloomberg in December, should be tested by the end of the year internally, before being launched in a dozen countries, the media said. who points out on his website that Facebook should deliver more details “this summer”.
“A faster and cheaper way”
The GlobalCoin or Libra will use blockchain technology, a kind of huge public and tamper-proof registry that makes the transfer of virtual currency fast, anonymous and secure. This technology underlies the vast majority of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin. But, unlike the latter, the price of the GlobalCoin could be indexed to a basket of real currencies to limit its volatility, a feature of cryptocurrency often disparaged.
The virtual currency could transit from the applications held by Facebook that include hundreds of millions of active users: Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. Signed that the project is accelerating, Mark Zuckerberg, the head of Facebook, has already met with Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, as well as with US Treasury officials, said the BBC. ” The company is also in discussions with money transfer companies like Western Union, as it is looking for a faster and cheaper way for people without a bank account to send and receive money,” he added. the British media.
Coinbase and Gemini, the platforms chosen by Facebook
In parallel, the Financial Times also revealed Friday, based on two sources close to the record, that Facebook had contacted ” at least two cryptocurrency trading platforms, Coinbase and Gemini, through which users could keep their currency Facebook safely or convert it to other currencies, virtual or real. By attacking the sultry domain of cryptocurrencies, regularly under the spotlight due to repeated hacks and money laundering charges, the American giant, already subject to various scandals, is exposed to new criticism.
Facebook is not the first big company to want to launch its own cryptocurrency. In mid-February, the US bank JPMorgan Chase announced the launch of JPM Coin, however, restricted to large investors, which excludes de facto individuals.