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Blockchain

Facebook is apparently planning to launch its digital currency in early 2020

We are getting a clearer picture of what the social network is working on behind the scenes: Globalcoin
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergAssociated Press

A few more bits and pieces have leaked out about Facebook’s plans to launch its own internet-based currency.

Now the BBC reports that the social network is in the final stages of planning to launch the coin—for which “GlobalCoin” is apparently the internal name—during the first quarter of next year in “about a dozen” countries.

Secret meetings with important people: According to the BBC, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with Bank of England governor Mark Carney last month to “discuss the opportunities and risks involved with launching a cryptocurrency.”

The company has apparently also met with officials at the US Treasury and is “in talks” with money transfer companies including Western Union. The Financial Times reported Thursday that Facebook has also held talks with popular US cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Gemini.

Project Libra: This is the first time we’ve heard the internal name “GlobalCoin,” after hearing several times about the secretive, supposedly blockchain-based payment network Facebook is building.

Bloomberg reported in December that Facebook is developing a so-called stablecoin, a digital currency whose value is pegged to fiat currency like the US dollar. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the social network has been recruiting dozens of financial companies and online merchants to participate in the project, whose code name the WSJ said was “Project Libra.” Late last week, Reuters reported that Facebook had formed a new financial technology company in Switzerland, called Libra Networks.

Really a cryptocurrency? Even if Facebook’s new digital currency were to use cryptography and some form of a blockchain, many enthusiasts have been quick to dismiss this project’s association with the term “cryptocurrency” as a marketing ploy.

After all, many cryptocurrency fans would like blockchains to disrupt big tech companies, not the other way around. Big questions remain as to how much control Facebook will retain over the network, and how it intends to make money from the project. Stay tuned.

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