Skip to Content
Blockchain

Facebook might be developing a cryptocurrency that you could send via WhatsApp

December 21, 2018

Facebook is working on a cryptocurrency that would allow people to send money to each other using its WhatsApp messaging app, according to Bloomberg

Behind the scenes: We’ve known for a while that Facebook was working on something related to blockchain technology. In May, the social network named David Marcus, former PayPal president and then head of the Messenger app, to head up its blockchain program. Bloomberg says Facebook now has around 40 people on its blockchain team.

Backed by fiat currency: According to the report, Facebook is developing a crypto-token that would be backed by traditional currency, like the US dollar. That would help it avoid the price volatility that plagues most cryptocurrencies. A number of dollar-pegged tokens have already become popular among cryptocurrency users, and many more are under development (see “Stablecoins will help cryptocurrencies achieve world domination—if they actually work”).

Details, details: Bloomberg reports that India might be the first market. That would make sense. People sent a whopping $69 billion back home to India in 2017—the highest such figure in the world. But while the potential business opportunity is clear, not much else is yet. According to Bloomberg, Facebook is “far from releasing the coin,” and is still working out the overall strategy.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.