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Facebook Unveils Digital Wallet Service ‘Calibra’

Facebook has left no stone unturned to make the most awaited crypto project, Libra, a success. The company officially announced a digital wallet service namely Calibra to take off in 2020.

Calibra is a subsidiary of Facebook that will help loop people into the Libra network and would perhaps serve as a stream to generate more revenue along the course of usage. Its immediate goal is to provide financial services throughout the world. And being backed by Facebook’s wide ecosystem, this does not seem very ambitious.

Calibra is registered with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an agency formed to combat domestic and international money laundering and other financial crimes. The digital wallet will be available on Messenger, WhatsApp and will come as a standalone iOS and Android app.

A sneak peek of Facebook's Calibra

Source – Facebook

Kevin Weil, the Vice President of product at Calibra, described dual primary functions of the wallet, that is, ensuring money is held securely for free and establishing money transfer almost as quick as a photo click at costs lower than the average international money transfer rates.

He told The Verge:

For us, WhatsApp and Messenger are great homes for Libra. A couple billion people use them. But it’s not just that they use them, but how they use them,

Messenger is to talk to close friends and family, and those are exactly the types of people you send money to. There’s a lot of overlap between the things you want out of a wallet for currency and the things you want out of a messaging app.

Although Libra is backed by some major payment processing companies like Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal, Weil said that this transfer feature requires a credit card or a bank account, a financial commodity not available to about 1.7 billion people. Calibra comes as a savior to these people as all they require is a cheap smartphone to transfer money.

Weil said that the real goal was focused on achieving a vibrant economy to be built on top of Libra, perhaps by Facebook or any other company. This would be a key factor in magnifying adoption and creating a revolution in the true sense. He said that people who would have had used only hard cash will suddenly be seen accessing digital currency on their smartphones. He added that Calibra could be successful only if the Libra network really emerged victorious.

Not long ago, Facebook was involved in one of the biggest security breaches which ended up exposing about 50 million users’ information. However, Facebook claims to have taken firm steps to keep the money safe and ensure privacy protection for the new project. Users will have to go through the same series of verification and anti-fraud processes as those adopted by banks. The report claims that if a user’s account gets hacked, Facebook will claim responsibility and provide a refund for the Libra lost. Besides this, the user data will only be accessed to a certain limit which will, in turn, be used to secure the accounts and prevent criminal activities.

Facebook has about 2.38 billion monthly active users. This wide database comes with a rather detailed information pool. It has the potential to give birth to the largest platform not only in the crypto industry but the entire financial space. David Marcus, former head of Facebook Messenger, said that the idea of decentralization when combined with the rightful digital commerce and Facebook’s enormous user base forms the infrastructure to support the cryptocurrency to skyrocket.

Meanwhile, US Rep. Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the United States House Committee on Financial Services has called for a moratorium on Libra development until the Congress and other regulatory bodies review the project and its potential implications.

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Potential Facebook Stakeholders Line Up for Libra Amid Industry Concerns

facebook

Despite Facebook declaring it has backing from over a dozen firms for the project “Libra,” reports suggest that the media giant is far from ready due to software unpreparedness, with one source suggesting early 2020 as the likely date for testing.

Detractors claim that Facebook’s attempt to launch its own cryptocurrency is purely a way of creating its own super mall where FB can boost its product sales and net users can sidestep familiar payment methods and web payment systems.

Facebook has announced that it already has Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and Uber on board, despite claims elsewhere that delay to date are because the industry doesn’t perceive Facebook’s proposed coin as a true cryptocurrency.  The FB coin, it is also argued can present no challenge to Bitcoin which has gained popularity, simply because it requires a storage and payment facility which doesn’t need to go through financial giants such as Visa and Mastercard.

Other sources suggest that Facebook is hoping to attract 100 members to the project’s governing consortium securing USD 1 billion in the process. The consortium amongst others will include venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures, Coinbase, and non-profit organization Mercy Corps.

The development of Facebook Coin raises concerns for many in the industry, due to the media giant’s record on earning its revenue, particularly last year’s Cambridge Analytica Scandal when customers’ information was shared between Cambridge and Facebook for advertising purposes. Users are hoping that a higher standard of ethics is one of the critical prerequisites necessary for any coin launch. The company is hoping that such fears can be allayed by the hiring of Standard Chartered’s Europe head of corporate and public affairs, Edward Bowles.

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Facebook Targets 2020 for “GlobalCoin” After Bank of England Meet

Facebook Targets 2020 for

A BBC business report has just released fresh details on near-finished plans by social media giant Facebook to launch its own cryptocurrency next year; the coin has been dubbed internally as GlobalCoin.

According to the report, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg had held meeting with Bank of England governor Mark Carney last month to talk about the opportunities and risks associated with launching such a currency. The company also met with the US Treasury to seek advice on regulatory and operational issues, alongside discussions with money transfer institutions such as Western Union in a bid to find solutions for transferring money for people without bank accounts.

More details have been promised this summer, but GlobalCoin testing has been scheduled for the end of 2019 and digital payment systems will be installed for around 12 countries by early 2020.

Dubbed Project Libra, the plans for Facebook’s digital currency, nicknamed Facebook Coin, first surfaced late last year. Much speculation had surrounded its use and extent, but it is now understood that GlobalCoin will work together with banks to help people transfer dollars and other international currencies into a digital network for further use. Some co-founders are expected to launch the new association based in Switzerland in the coming weeks.

Venture capitalist Tim Draper is thought to be in discussions with Facebook to consider possible investments into the crypto project.

 

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Indian Bitcoiners Wait and Watch with Facebook Coin

Indian Bitcoiners Wait and Watch with Facebook Coin

The Economic Times has reported that several significant Indian Bitcoin players and fintech startup owners are wary that Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency project may not be all that it seems, and do not believe that it will require banks to transfer money or trade virtual currency.

According to some companies, Facebook’s rumored stablecoin project will be tested in India, and to ensure that it is legally compliant, it may bypass regulations that currently forbid banking channels being used for transactions involving cryptocurrency.

As such, Facebook would be expected to allow transactions happening peer to peer. This would mean, unlike local companies dealing with Bitcoin, Facebook’s system wouldn’t need bank accounts to transfer money.

Indian crypto exchange platform WazirX‘s founder Nischal Shetty said:

“If this (Facebook’s stablecoin) becomes a reality it will change the entire crypto industry… Facebook may not have to worry if the currency operates within their platforms. There isn’t a law which prevents users within a platform from exchanging value, for example, in the form of tokens, between each other.”

Another exchange, RupeeCoin, welcomed the news of Facebook but advised caution, saying:

“Anything like this which displays the usage of the technology by a legitimate player like Facebook or WhatsApp will bring a positive approach for the users. An interesting project to be deployed in India but, at least for us, something to be cautious about.”

 

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The Motley Fool: Facebook Stablecoin Will Interest Visa, Mastercard

Motley Fool: Facebook Stablecoin Will Interest Visa, Mastercard

Multimedia financial services company, The Motley Fool wrote that Facebook’s much speculated, upcoming cryptocurrency project dubbed the Facebook Coin, will likely interest traditional credit card companies such as Mastercard and Visa.

The publication claims that Facebook’s project, which it believes is most likely a stablecoin, would potentially disrupt the operations of the two companies, but reports that it is also in discussions with them, to talk about the possibility of investment or even partnership.

The rationale, according to The Motley Fool, is that Facebook would still require a physical credit card provider to expand into physical store locations. Visa, for instance, partnered with PayPal to enable their customers to have a physical credit card, and then more recently did it with Coinbase in the UK, while Mastercard did the same with Square. Apple as well has not been outdone, with its Apple Card to expand Apple Pay.

Facebook Explores Stablecoins Through WhatsApp

Furthermore, the article also believes that a unified Facebook cryptocurrency would present a strong challenge to other fintechs involved in the payment sector or which has payment platforms like PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and Apple Pay.

With 2.38 billion active users every month by the end of March 2019, it could already become the most widely used currency globally, especially if it is able to partner with more third-party websites. They would certainly have the expertise, as ex-PayPal President David Marcus heads Facebook’s blockchain group, along with 20% of its staff also from PayPal.

 

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Facebook Eases Off on Crypto Ad Ban

Facebook Eases Off on Crypto Ad Ban

With the rumors of Facebook Coin now shaping up to be reality, the social media giant has apparently softened its stance towards its ban on cryptocurrency related advertisements on its platform.

Yesterday, the company released a new blog post that claims it has been aware of the feedback and had been making considerations ever since it clamped down on crypto advertising.

While it insists that this has led to an assessment of the effectiveness and appropriateness of the policy, it does seem timely that the post is a prelude to its own launch of a new Facebook stablecoin. The post read:

“While we will still require people to apply to run ads promoting cryptocurrency, starting today, we will narrow this policy to no longer require pre-approval for ads related to blockchain technology, industry news, education or events related to cryptocurrency.”

Last year in June, Facebook began cracking down on ads related to crypto, targeting initial coin offerings in particular. Under its so-called Prohibited Financial Products and Services policy, it outlawed ads promoting contracts for difference (CFDs), under which ICOs fall under.

This doesn’t mean that the chains are off, however. Facebook reminds that its newly adjusted policy will still seek to prevent misleading advertising:

“Because of this, people who want to promote cryptocurrency and closely related products like cryptocurrency exchanges and mining software and hardware, will still have to go through a review process.”

 

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Facebook Coin Ropes in MIT Professor

Facebook Coin Ropes in MIT Professor

A Coindesk report has quoted two anonymous sources close to the situation at Facebook, alleging that a prominent professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been recruited by the social media giant to work on its crypto project.

The project, dubbed by some as Facebook Coin, is said to now benefit from the collaboration of Christian Catalini, a researcher in token economics at MIT. The Theodore T Miller Career Development Professor recently co-authored a report with University of Toronto professor Joshua Gans, which detailed the value of tokens and initial coin offerings.

Catalini himself is no stranger to crypto as he raised half a million dollars to distribute USD 100 in Bitcoin to MIT undergraduates in 2014.

Facebook is supposedly looking to raise up to USD 1 billion for its crypto, after news broke at the end of 2018 from Bloomberg that that the company was creating a currency for users of its instant messaging service.

Neither Facebook nor Catalini have commented on this report,  not responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment on the reported development. Not everyone in the space has looked favorably on Facebook Coin, however. Binance CFO Wei Zhou just last month accused Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg of targeting crypto for his next tech monopoly.

 

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Former Zuckerberg Classmate and Binance CFO Slams Facebook’s Crypto Intentions

Binance CFO Wei Zhou has taken a swipe at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg accusing him of targeting cryptocurrency as his next monopoly after recent hints at a FB cryptocurrency in the making.

Although there are yet to be any official announcements from Facebook, there have been past media reports talking up a possible ‘Facebook Coin’, and the company has been seen to advertise vacancies for blockchain experts. Now, more than 40 people are reportedly working in Facebook’s blockchain division, and the company continues to talent hunt for experts in the fields of engineering, product and business development, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and legal.

This hasn’t amused the Chinese venture capitalist and boss of the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Zhou claims that Zuckerberg has no interest in propagating further interest in crypto through the medium of Facebook with a ready audience of over 2 billion, but simply wants to dominate the space. He argues that ‘Facebook is not a community-driven organization’ adding:

“Their goal is to wall off other people from coming into their system. Their goal is not to open up their system to other people.”

The two entrepreneurs are not unknown to each other.  Zhou attended Harvard with Mark Zuckerberg and in 2004, Zhou was amongst the first group of students who signed up for the college networking website, pre -Facebook launch. Far from being decentralized, Zhou envisages a potential Facebook crypto project as centered around the Facebook CEO;

“I don’t think it’s in Zuckerberg’s DNA to let go. The mindset is very clear from day one if you’ve read the book, watched the movie, see what he does. Even the way he lives — before he moved into the neighborhood, he bought every house in that neighborhood.”

“It’s going to be a closed Facebook ecosystem,” he adds.

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VC Tim Draper Eyeballs Facebook Coin Project as Possible Investment

facebook coin

Tim Draper, Draper Associates venture capitalist and crypto pundit, is reported to be meeting with Facebook in order to determine if his company should invest in Facebook Coin – a stablecoin project being considered by the social media giant.

The idea behind Facebook Coin is to allow FB users to conduct transactions using a cryptocurrency pegged to the US dollar in tandem with WhatsApp.

Draper is certainly not shy when it comes to investments, and knows a good deal when he sees one, having invested in Telsa. Inc, Hotmail, and Skype before discovering Bitcoin in 2014 into which he invested USD 89.1 million. Since then he has become an outspoken advocate of the flagship cryptocurrency, talking up its price at every opportunity.

It’s thought that Facebook needs USD 1 Billion in venture capital to get its plans for the stablecoin project moving. The company taking more than a passing interest in the crypto space over past months hired PayPal president David Marcus to head its blockchain team. A cryptocurrency could be a massive boon to the company’s already well-heeled status claims Barclays’ analyst Ross Sandler:

“Any attempt to build out revenue streams outside of advertising, especially those that don’t abuse user privacy are likely to be well-received by Facebook’s shareholders.”

Sandler sees a potential USD 19 billion being added to Facebook’s annual revenue. Draper’s role in such a project could be quite influential given his track record, and his predictions for Bitcoin, in particular, show great faith in the future of cryptocurrencies as a concept.

Draper who’s been consistent in his prediction that Bitcoin prices would hit USD 250,000 by 2022 has views on crypto’s future that would give Facebook, with all its engineering prowess, great heart. Talking of Bitcoin’s future, Draper maintains that crypto as a vital part of the financial system will become a reality, becoming bigger than the internet.

“My reasoning is that all these engineers have to create all the things they are doing to make it really easy for us to spend it and to use it and to move it and to build it into our contracts and all of that.” He adds, “This affects the entire world and it’s going to be affected in a faster and more prevalent way than you ever imagined.”

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$1 Billion Sought for Facebook Crypto Project

 Billion Sought for Facebook Crypto Project

The New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper has now said that social media behemoth Facebook will soon be seeking to raise up to USD 1 billion for its cryptocurrency project.

His series of Tweets yesterday shared several updates that say Popper’s undisclosed sources have informed that Facebook is going to be on the look out for venture capital (VC) firms in order to raise the 10-figure sum.

Update on Facebook’s cryptocurrency: Sources tell me that Facebook is now looking to get VC firms to invest in the Facebook cryptocurrency project we reported on earlier this year. I hear they are targeting big sums — as much as $1b.

— Nathaniel Popper (@nathanielpopper) April 8, 2019

The tech journalist then goes on to speculate that a move to seek external investment could be a way to present Facebook’s crypto project as “more decentralized and less controlled”, given the expected backlash from crypto purists who see corporate crypto as a move away from the original principles of cryptocurrency.

His sources are also indicating that the company plans to peg its digital assets against a fiat basket in an attempt to create a stablecoin, which would protect it from the extreme volatility associated with cryptocurrency. He said:

“One person I spoke with said that Facebook is talking about using the money as collateral for its cryptocurrency. Facebook has been designing the coin to keep a stable value, pegged to a basket of foreign currencies held in bank accounts.”

Although there has yet to be any official announcements from Facebook, there have been past media reports talking up a possible “Facebook Coin“, and the company has been seen to advertise vacancies for blockchain experts.

 

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