Facebook is set to announce its own cryptocurrency later this month, with plans to let employees take their salary in the new currency.
Last year, the social media company appointed David Marcus, the former PayPal executive, to begin looking at opportunities for Facebook to use blockchain – the technological basis of cryptocurrencies.
Since Marcus’ involvement, it has been reported Facebook is designing its own digital currency. Users will apparently be able to store, trade and exchange the cryptocurrency for regular currency, through Facebook apps like Messenger and WhatsApp, according to CNBC.
It’s reported the company will also be building physical ATM-like machines, where people can buy the currency.
By introducing their own currency, it is believed the company will start to diversify beyond advertising – which currently accounts for almost all its revenue – as a single Facebook currency will enable its more than 2 billion users to easily exchange money across countries.
Mark Zuckerberg has recently highlighted the importance of payments and private commerce in Facebook’s future.
While speaking at Facebook’s annual software developer conference this year, he said:
When I think about all the different ways that people interact privately, I think payments is one of the areas where we have an opportunity to make it a lot easier.
However, it has also been reported operating chief Sheryl Sandberg, and CFO David Wehner, were ‘skeptical of the initiative’.
The company is apparently enlisting third-party organisations to act as ‘nodes’ to help manage their digital currency. Nodes are high powered devices with the ability to keep track of, and resolve, complicated equations in order to validate transactions.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.