Mark Zuckerberg is planning to launch a cryptocurrency for his social media empire in early 2020, allowing users to make digital payments in a dozen countries.
GlobalCoin will enable Facebook’s 2.4 billion monthly users to change dollars and other international currencies into digital coins, which could then be used to make payments or transfer money, without the need for a bank account.
According to the BBC, Zuckerberg last month met the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, to discuss the plans.
Known as Project Libra within Facebook, Zuckerberg is also said to have met US Treasury officials to go over his intentions with the cryptocurrency, and is in talks with money transfer firms, including Western Union, to develop cheap, safe ways for people to send and receive money.
A report last year said that Facebook is working on a cryptocurrency that will let users transfer money using WhatsApp, its encrypted mobile-messaging app.
Facebook intends to start testing the cryptocurrency at the end of this year, with more plans expected to be unveiled in the summer.
Earlier this month Whole Foods, GameStop and Barnes & Noble said they will now accept a range of cryptocurrencies in their physical stores.
Flexa, a crypto payment processing start-up, has launched its new crypto wallet Spedn, which allows retailers to accept Bitcoin, Etherium, GUSD and Bitcoin Cash inside bricks-and-mortar stores instantly.
However, questions over how Facebook would handle its users’ personal data in the wake of a financial disruptor such as a cyptocurrency designed to take the power away from established banks or central authorities remain a key concern for the US Senate.
On May 9, the US Senate and Banking committee wrote an open letter to Zuckerberg questioning how the currency will work, what consumer protection will be offered and how data will be secured.