The world’s biggest social media company appears dead-set on launching its own cryptocurrency.
Facebook has yet to announce plans publicly but media reports on its crypto ambitions have emerged over the past six months, painting a partial picture of how the social network wants to capitalize on blockchain technology.
In short, a team led by former PayPal president David Marcus is building an asset-backed cryptocurrency, one designed to operate within the company’s existing messaging infrastructure (WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger).
The most recent news on the project comes from the BBC, with the British outlet reporting that the cryptocurrency – called “GlobalCoin” internally – will launch in “about a dozen countries by the first quarter of 2020.”
However, the signs that Mark Zuckerberg’s company wanted to diversify into fintech first materialized as far back as 2017.
Below is a rundown of what is known so far about Facebook’s cryptocurrency.
Looking back, the first sign that Facebook was prepared to be very serious about distributed ledger technology came in December 2017, when David Marcus joined Coinbase’s board of directors.
At the time, Marcus was the vice president of messaging products at Facebook. This would have included two of the biggest messaging platforms in the world, Messenger and WhatsApp (which Facebook acquired in February 2014 for $19 billion).
Though giants in their category, neither of Facebook’s messengers have the payments functionality enjoyed by their top rival: China’s WeChat.
But Marcus was president of PayPal, the U.S.’s leading online payments company. He’s no stranger to solving this category of tech problems.