Social Media giant ‘Facebook’ unveiled plans to launch Libra Currency
Social media giant Facebook has unveiled plans to launch a new digital currency, called Libra, next year.
According to information, people would be able to make payments with the currency via its own apps, as well as on messaging service WhatsApp. Firms such as Uber and Visa are also likely to accept it in future.
But there have been concerns about how people’s money and data will be protected, as well as over the potential volatility of the currency.
Facebook said Libra would be independently-managed and backed by real assets, and that paying with it would be as easy as texting.
It is the latest foray by a tech giant into the payments sector, after Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay – although none of those services are based on a crypto-currency.
According to Facebook, from next year you will be able to buy Libra via its platforms and store it in a digital wallet called Calibra.
You can then send your Libra to other users, it said, “as easily and instantly as you might send a text message”.
“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.”
It said transactions would be at “low to no cost”, although the firm is expected to take a small commission on payments made through its platforms.
Why is Facebook doing this?
Facebook said Libra was particularly aimed at the 1.7 billion adults worldwide who do not have a bank account.
It said the issue of being “unbanked” disproportionately affected people in developing countries, and in particular women.
However, while the social network says the currency will be global, apps and services that use Libra will need to be compliant with the regulatory regimes in the markets they operate.
While the currency already has the green light to launch in the US, it is unclear what will happen in places such as India, which has recently clamped down on digital currencies.
Reports in May suggested only about 12 markets would be ready for Libra by the time it has launched.