Facebook recently announced that it will be making a number of updates to the way its platforms work. And now, in addition to these changes, Facebook has announced that it will be launching its own digital currency.
The currency will be called Libra and it will allow people to make payments via its platforms, including WhatsApp.
There have been some concerns over data privacy and protection, as well as other potential problems like currency volatility. However, Facebook says it will be managed independently and will be backed up by real assets.
It’s believed that many large firms, including Visa and Uber, are likely to accept Libra payments if the plans go ahead. It would also be accepted by Mastercard, PayPal, Spotify, telecoms firms, digital businesses, and some charities.
In addition to this, Facebook said that it expects that Libra would be able to be bought and sold in currency markets in the future, in the same way as other cryptocurrencies.
In its announcement, Facebook said that users will be able to buy Libra via its platforms as of next year. It will be stored in a digital wallet on their account, which would be called “Calibra”.
According to Facebook, users will then be able to send funds to other users “as easily and instantly as you might send a text message”, and that transactions would be “low to no cost”.
It added: “In time, we hope to offer additional services for people and businesses, such as paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code, or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.”
Facebook says that Libra is primarily aimed at adults that don’t have bank accounts, of which, globally, there are around 1.7 billion. This is a rising global issue that mostly affects people in developing countries.
However, as previously mentioned, there are still many concerns over consumer protection, especially in terms of the risk of misuse of data, fraud, and financial protection. For example, other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have been very volatile in the markets.
Facebook says that it plans to address this by using strong protection systems to keep data and money safe, as well as introducing a verification process, in a similar way to banks and credit card providers.