Facebook just unveiled its new Libra cryptocurrency — here's how to sign up for early access

Facebook
  • Facebook unveiled its digital currency Libra on Tuesday, which the company plans to launch publicly in 2020.
  • Although the financial service isn’t launching yet, the company is allowing users to sign up to be notified about early access.
  • Libra represents a big push for Facebook into the financial services industry, coming at a time when privacy concerns about how Facebook handles consumer data are higher than ever.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Facebook unveiled its long-anticipated digital currency Libra on Tuesday, marking the company’s biggest push into the payments industry yet. The currency won’t be publicly available until 2020, but the company is allowing those interested to sign up for notifications about when the service will launch.

To register for more information about when Libra will be available, visit Facebook’s website for Calibra, the newly-formed subsidiary the company created for the service. From there, you’ll see an option to enter your email address to be notified when Calibra is live.

The digital wallet for Facebook’s new cryptocurrency will live in the company’s Messenger and WhatsApp apps in addition to a standalone app. The company expects this wallet to launch in 2020, but noted that the development of Calibra is still in its early stages. When the currency launches, users will need government-issued identification to sign up.

Libra’s backers include payment companies such as Mastercard and Paypal as well as tech companies like Spotify, eBay, and Uber.Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post that Facebook hopes to have 100 members in its association by the time the service launches.

Facebook’s goal with Libra is to provide people around the world with simple, affordable, and secure access to financial services. The company notes in its announcement that half of adults in the world don’t have an active bank account, citing data from The World Bank.

With its new digital currency, Facebook wants sending money to friends and family members to be as easy as sending a text message. In addition to sharing money with others, you’ll also be able to use Libra to pay for everyday transactions like coffee and public transportation.

The social network giant has been rocked by a number of privacy scandals in recent years, among the most recent coming to light in April when Business Insider reported that Facebook harvested the email contacts of 1.5 million users without their consent.

That’s why Facebook is emphasising the way in which it plans to keep Calibra secure. The company says fraud protection is built in throughout the app and that it will not share any financial data or account information with Facebook or other third parties without customer consent. Facebook also says it will be using the same anti-fraud processes that banks and credit card use.

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