When is Facebook thinking of launching its Cryptocurrency?

Multi-millionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is planning to incorporate blockchain technology and cryptocurrency into his social media behemoth as early as next year, according to recent UK reports. The BBC has said Facebook will launch its own cryptocurrency, the GlobalCoin, in March 2020. It is believed the new currency will help Facebook’s 2.375 billion monthly active users buy cryptocurrency, make online purchases and facilitate money transfers around the world.

Facebook has recently been in discussions with the US Treasury and the Bank of England around regulation of the launch as part of a programme dubbed ‘Project Libra’.

The FT has reported that Facebook also discussed the project with exchanges, including Gemini and Coinbase, in the hope of securing a third-party platform where users can store or exchange the new cryptocurrency. The new cryptocurrency could be tested later this year with a view to rolling it out across a dozen countries in 2020. Facebook officials are also believed to have been in talks recently with Visa, Western Union and Mastercard about ways to create faster money transfers without a bank account.

It has also emerged that Facebook, which also owns Instagram and Whatsapp, has recently launched its own fintech company, Libra Networks, to develop the blockchain technology that the new GlobalCoin will transact on. Although Facebook is believed to be targeting people without bank accounts predominantly, one hurdle it may have to overcome is the older demographic of its users, who at 40+ years of age are not digital natives and therefore could be resistant to adapting to new technologies.

Mark Zuckerberg is following in the footsteps of others that have capitalised on blockchain technology, including Block.one’s CEO Brendan Blumer, who introduced a new social media platform this month, called Voice. As Voice is based on Block.one’s own blockchain platform, EOS, Blumer has ensured it has been built so that the users, not the algorithms, will influence what appears, and everything posted on the new social media platform will be public. In a bid to upskill users, Block.one has also joined Coinbase’s Earn program, which provides courses in cryptocurrency for a small payment of the relevant cryptocurrency.

The growth of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology shows no signs of abating either. Once the realm of techy geeks, one on five British people now feel Bitcoin will become as popular as cards or cash in future and cryptocurrency is gaining growing interest from such big brands as Nike and Tesla as a viable way to transact securely online.

In a sign that cryptocurrency payments are becoming more mainstream, many fast food outlets around the world are now accepting payment in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In California, pizzaforcoins.com enables Bitcoin users to purchase takeaways from Pizza Hut, Domino’s and Papa Joe’s.

Even football is getting in on the game, with premiership football clubs seeing the benefits of cryptocurrency as a means of paying for transfers as well as eliminating fake merchandise and reducing ticket touting.

There are now over 1000 cryptocurrencies in circulation, and others entering the market all the time, so it looks very much like cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are only going to get bigger and could play a central role in many people’s lives, potentially replace traditional cards, notes and coins as the main means of transacting in the future.

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