The social media behemoth has jumped on the blockchain wagon.
According to an article published by the New York Times on Feb. 28, Mark Zuckerberg’s internet empire is working on its very own cryptocurrency, which plans to integrate with WhatsApp, Messenger and also Instagram – three of their most popular apps with over 2.8 billion users worldwide.
Insider sources said that the Facebook Project is focusing on developing a stablecoin for users to send money to their contacts through WhatsApp.
It will be pegged to a variety foreign currencies, not only limited to the US dollar, and they will guarantee the value of the new coin by backing it with funds from their own bank accounts. It was also revealed that a team of forty engineers has been dedicated to work on this blockchain project secretly under wraps in a separate office, pushing for it to be launched in the first half of the year.
While Microsoft had first begun to accept cryptocurrency (namely Bitcoin) in 2014, not all businesses accept them as a form of payment, especially the offline stores. Customers need to convert their coins to fiat currency before they can actually spend it on anything, a process that is much slower and not very user-friendly, and often involves hefty transaction fees. Thus, the cryptocurrency world is anticipating how Facebook will play out so that the coins are actually valuable outside of its own networking platform.
But rumor has it that Facebook is pitching the stablecoin around to various exchanges. If the coin is listed on exchanges, with the advancement of mobile tech, converting it into fiat currency is just a few clicks away.
At the same time, Telegram is also working on their own virtual token this year, and some of the biggest messaging mobile application companies in Asia – Kakao from South Korea and Line from Japan – are catching up on the trend too.