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Facebook is expected to unveil its secretive cryptocurrency next week

June 14, 2019
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Big payment firms and other digital companies are all backing the social-media giant’s first foray into crypto.

The news: Facebook will release the white paper associated with its new digital currency next week, the Wall Street Journal reports. Firms like Paypal, Uber, Visa, and Mastercard have all signed up as part of the consortium to control it. Each has invested $10 million in the project, according to the WSJ. TechCrunch says the date for the white paper will be June 18, although a full launch of the currency is not expected until next year.

What is it? Very little is known about the digital currency so far, although it is expected to be a so-called “stablecoin,” one that is pegged to the value of a fiat currency like the US dollar. The belief is that users will be able to use the coin, named Libra, to buy things on Facebook itself as well as across the internet.

But is it crypto? That’s the big question for crypto advocates. Even if it uses cryptography, it is unlikely to be truly decentralized. Many believe it may be more like a version of Paypal, rather than a true cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. Other questions: How much control will Facebook have over it? And how will it protect its users privacy given the firm's appalling track record?

Keep up with the fast-moving and sometimes baffling world of cryptocurrencies and blockchains with our weekly newsletter Chain Letter. Subscribe here. It’s free!

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