Facebook Mulls Own Cryptocurrency - Report

The social media giant remains tight-lipped, but its recently-formed blockchain division hints at possible credibility of the plan

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14 May • 2.5 min
In News

Social media giant Facebook is considering launching its own cryptocurrency, financial news outlet Cheddar reported on Friday quoting an unnamed source.

The company is holding “serious”, high-level discussions about directing the focus of its blockchain research team toward releasing a virtual token that would allow its over two billion users to make electronic payments, according to the report. The insiders further noted that Facebook does not intend to hold an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and may take years to implement its plans.

Contacted by Cheddar, a Facebook spokesperson did not confirm or deny the rumor. "Like many other companies Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team will be exploring many different applications. We don't have anything further to share,” the representative said.

Although it is not the first time the notion of a “Facebook Coin” has surfaced on the web, the plans take on some greater meaning in light of Facebook's recently reshuffled executive structure and newly formed team dedicated to exploring blockchain technology.

David Marcus, the head of Messenger for the past four years, said in a post on his Facebook page last week that he is leaving that role to set up “a small group to explore how to best leverage blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch.”

However, Marcus, who was once the president of online payment service PayPal and is also a board member of cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase, stated back in February that Facebook has no plans to integrate cryptocurrency into its applications, explaining in an interview with CNBC: “Payments using crypto right now is just very expensive, super slow, so the various communities running the different blockchains and the different assets need to fix all the issues, and then when we get there someday, maybe we’ll do something.”

The unconfirmed news of Facebook joining the digital assets frenzy also comes after the company banned in January cryptocurrency-related advertising across its network, citing “misleading or deceptive promotional practices.” The ban came as a surprise, as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had previously expressed interest in cryptocurrencies. The move, however, may be explained with a possible strategy against the competition.

Another social media giant, Telegram, recently attempted to launch its own cryptocurrency. After raising USD 1.7 billion in pre-sales, the company cancelled its ICO last week, likely due to increasing regulatory pressure in the US. Kin is another example of a social media company showing interest in the crypto world. The Canadian messaging app created its Kik token in May 2017.