Facebook has teamed up with the likes of PayPal, Uber, Spotify, Visa and Mastercard in an effort to extend financial services for users, launching its own cryptocurrency.
Creating a cryptocurrency has become somewhat of a fun gimmick in recent times, look no further than former basketballer turned international diplomat Dennis Rodman’s ‘PotCoin’ or the Kanye West inspired ‘Coinye’.
But Facebook’s cryptocurrency, named ‘Libra’, is far more serious.
“For many people around the world, even basic financial services are still out of reach: almost half of the adults in the world don’t have an active bank account and those numbers are worse in developing countries and even worse for women,” said Facebook in a statement.
Users will be able to send and spend Libra through new digital wallet ‘Calibra’.
Like all cryptocurrencies, the coin will use blockchain technology to allow users to securely transfer funds.
“Calibra will let you send Libra to almost anyone with a smartphone, as easily and instantly as you might send a text message and at low to no cost,” Facebook said.
“And, in time, we hope to offer additional services for people and businesses, like paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.”
Calibra will exist as a Facebook subsidiary while also becoming one of the 100 founding members of the Libra network – each of which will invest at least $US10 million.
The Libra network will not be run directly by Facebook, rather as a non-profit organisation supported by a range of companies.