Maria Montero

Facebook plans to launch its own cryptocurrency in the first half of …

Crypto currencies have been around for a while, promising a world where online transactions will not be overseen by a central authority or regulators. Towards the end of 2017, the boom in bitcoin brought cryptocurrencies on the covers.

Since then there has been a huge increase in cryptocurrency startup space.

According to a report in the The New York Times, Facebook is keeping its crypto plans under wraps as its 50-plus-member cryptocurrency team works out of a silo in a different office that requires unique access cards. It is also in talks with cryptocurrency exchanges to list its digital currency that Facebook is expected to launch in the first half of 2019, which will likely be transacted on WhatsApp.

Messaging apps like Telegram Y Signal They are also working on their own cryptocurrencies, which are expected to be launched next year.

A man stands near an advertisement for a cryptocurrency exchange in Tokyo, Japan, March 30, 2018. REUTERS / Toru Hanai / Files

Facebook’s cryptocurrency ambitions.

WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, is one of the most popular messaging platforms in the world. WhatsApp Pay, which is the technology-centric feature of WhatsApp, is lagging in India and many countries due to regulatory hurdles. To avoid this, it seems that Facebook is working on a virtual currency. that WhatsApp users could send to their friends and family via the messaging platform, five people familiar with the matter said. NYT.

This project is being led by David Marcus, who was the former president of PayPal. Speculation suggests that the currency being worked on would be tied to the value of traditional currencies, including not only the US dollar, but other currencies as well. It’s more geared toward introducing a base coat, one whose value doesn’t fluctuate too much. Facebook is expected to guarantee the value of its coin by backing each coin with traditional dollars or euros or other traditional currencies held in Facebook’s bank accounts.

Facebook’s plans to integrate WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram messengers could be another step in that direction, as this will allow Facebook to have around 2.7 billion people (based on the current user base) on a single platform.

But since Facebook likes to have complete control over things, one wonders how the principles of cryptocurrency would apply, which is fundamentally based on the premise of being unregulated. Facebook is said to be in talks with some cryptocurrency exchanges to facilitate this, but nothing is known for sure.

Former Facebook head of information security Alex Stamos tweeted that this was a unique project, but it was more important to ensure privacy from the get-go.

“Without the mathematically backed privacy features having all of this data in one place would be a massive source of security and privacy risk, and a huge advantage for countries with influence over FB to gain access to the data,” wrote Stamos on Twitter and called for more public discussions. in this project.

But many are already convinced that this is just a recipe for more problems in Facebook’s scheme of things, given the company’s track record on user data privacy.

Telegram, signal and others

Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov delivers a keynote address during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, ​​Spain, on February 23, 2016. REUTERS / Albert Gea - D1AESOQXTQAB

Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov delivers a keynote address during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, ​​Spain, on February 23, 2016. REUTERS / Albert Gea – D1AESOQXTQAB

Telegram, with its 300 million users around the world, is also working on its own cryptocurrency, speculated as Gram. In fact, three weeks ago, Telegram in a letter to its investors said that the The Telegram Open Network (TON) project is 90% complete and has also raised $ 1.7 billion in its initial coin offering.