Facebook is planning to create its own Bitcoin-style cryptocurrency, in order to allow its billions of users around the world to make electronic payments on its platform and outside as well, people familiar with Facebook’s plans told Cheddar.
Though Facebook hasn’t officially announced anything about its virtual currency plans, but one of the people privy to this insider development, who wants to be remain anonymous said, “They are very serious about it.”
“Like many other companies Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team will be exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”, Facebook said in a statement to Engadget.
Earlier, in January, Mark Zuckerberg showed its interest in both cryptocurrencies and technology behind it –blockchain, and said in his Fb post, “There are important counter-trends to this –l ike encryption and cryptocurrency — that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands. But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”
Facebook started studying blockchain almost a year ago, when a member of its corporate development team, Morgan Beller, began looking at how the social platform could use the emerging technology.
At the time, Beller was the only Facebook employee devoted to studying blockchain, the digital and decentralized ledger that underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
According to Engadget, Facebook creating its own cryptocurrency does makes sense as the company could substantially cut down on transaction fees that it has to pay to credit card companies internally. Additionally, Facebook’s own virtual currency could make the social network giant a major player in the cryptocurrency market.
Notably, this is not the first time that Facebook is contemplating on virtual currency, as back in 2009 the company released ‘Facebook Credits’, which could be used to purchase virtual goods in games like Farmville as well as non-gaming applications on the social networking platform. One U.S. dollar was the equivalent of 10 Facebook Credits. However, Facebook eventually shut it down in 2012 as it didn’t get much traction.