Facebook is planning to launch a cryptocurrency it hopes will “transform the global economy.” The currency, named Libra, is being developed by Facebook, but the company intends to share control with a consortium of organizations, including venture capital firms, credit card companies, and other tech giants.
At launch, you’ll be able to send Libra inside of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, with it mostly being meant as an intermediary for transferring traditional currencies. Eventually, Facebook hopes Libra will be accepted as a form of payment, and other financial services will be built on top of its blockchain-based network.
Facebook is also launching a subsidiary company, Calibra, which will develop products and services based around Libra. It’s where Facebook intends to make money off of the cryptocurrency, and it’ll be starting with the launch of its digital wallet. Calibra will also handle Libra integrations for Facebook’s other products.
Given Facebook’s lofty goals — and its reputation for disregarding privacy and exacerbating immense political and social issues throughout the world — the announcement of Libra was followed by immediate backlash from regulators. Facebook will have a lot of questions to answer ahead of the currency’s launch in the first half of 2020.