- Facebook could debut a cryptocurrency system as early as this month, according to The Information.
- The company is planning to hand over control of the payments system to outside backers.
- Facebook is also exploring the option to obtain the currency through ATMs.
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Facebook is preparing to launch its own cryptocurrency as soon as this month, according to The Information.
The company plans to hand over control of the currency system to outside backers as part of a move to reassure financial regulators, the report says. Facebook has reportedly been in discussions with dozens of financial institutions and tech companies that will oversee the new cryptocurrency and contribute funding to the program. The payment system would be free of transaction fees and is designed to be used all over the world, especially in developing nations, The Information reports.
The cryptocurrency tokens would be primarily used in Facebook’s apps such as its main social network app and Messenger, but the company is reportedly working on ways for users to obtain the currency at ATM machines.
Facebook declined to comment on the report when contacted by Business Insider.
The report comes after the BBC reported in May that Facebook is developing a payments system that would be ready to launch in multiple countries by the first quarter of next year. The company had reportedly met with several cryptocurrency exchanges, bank officials, and trading firms in preparation, that report said.
Facebook has also previously met with several cryptocurrency firms as it explores use cases for the technology, including open-source payments company Stellar, as Business Insider reported last year.
David Marcus, who Facebook initially hired from PayPal to lead its Messenger efforts in 2014, has been leading the company’s blockchain efforts. Other high-profile executives at Facebook working on the project include Kevin Weil, the former head of product for Instagram, James Everingham, Instagram’s former head of engineering, and long-time Facebook senior engineer Evan Cheng.
The company will also reportedly offer employees working on the project the option to have their salary paid in cryptocurrency, The Information reports.
That Facebook is reportedly handing over control of its cryptocurrency to an outside foundation could be critical for the company to establish trust in its payments system as the company has been riddled with privacy scandals in recent years. It also marks another step for Facebook in its effort to expand beyond only serving as a social network, as it’s gradually built its own app ecosystem through its Messenger app.
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