Crypto is coming: get ready to spend Facebook’s money

The Guardian


First it had your friends, then it had your pictures, then it had your diary. Now, in the latest effort to entwine its systems still further into the everyday lives of its users, Facebook wants to get into your wallet.

On Tuesday, the social media behemoth is expected to reveal its own cryptocurrency, which has variously been called Libra and GlobalCoin. However, unlike other cryptocurrencies, the new creation will not have been founded in the spirit of libertarianism, outside the backing of established, conventional authorities. Instead, it appears to have the endorsement of more than 12 corporations, from Uber to PayPal, Visa and Mastercard.

Since they have risen to prominence over the past decade, cryptocurrencies have conjured up visions of a wild west of finance, where values fluctuate wildly and terrorists and drug dealers come piling in.

Facebook’s new venture appears to be somewhat removed from that image. Reports suggest that the new currency will be overseen by a group of companies that have each invested some $10m to join a consortium and administer it.

Another indication that the Facebook currency will be different from its predecessors is the fact that it will be pegged to a number of government-issued currencies, in a bid to avoid the vast value fluctuations that have dogged other digital currencies.

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