The big picture: The venture, codenamed Project Libra, will reportedly be backed by Facebook’s own stablecoin and allow for both personal transfers on its platforms and payments on other websites. Think of it like a checkout option such as PayPal in which shoppers can use it to pay for goods and services online.
Facebook has been working on its own cryptocurrency for more than a year. Preliminary rumors suggested the initiative would initially focus on the remittance market in India but according to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, Facebook is preparing to cast a much wider net.
The Journal said Facebook is recruiting dozens of merchants and financial firms to help launch the platform. The social network is also said to be interested in linking the stablecoin to its core ad engine, using it as a loyalty program that rewards users for their active use of the service.
It’s a bold undertaking that comes at a tumultuous time for Facebook but if successful, it could be a huge boon for the social network and put pressure on other payment products like PayPal and Apple Pay.
Despite its privacy issues, the one thing Facebook has going for it is its size. With 2.38 billion monthly active users (nearly a third of the world’s population) as of March 31, Facebook has a tremendously large user base and lots of them are buying things online.