Rumors have been around about the social media giant Facebook seeking to build its own cryptocurrency for WhatsApp money transfers. Bloomberg reported on Friday that the company is focusing on developing the cryptocurrency that will allow its users to transfer money through the messaging app, targeting initially on the Indian remittances market, citing people familiar with the matter.
The currency will enable Indians working abroad to send money back home, according to Verge news, it is something that some Bitcoin startups have already been working to solve, considering the difficulties and high charges associated with international money transfers.
Back in May this year, Cheddar Inc, first reported the news about Facebook’s plans to build its own cryptocurrency. Around that time, David Marcus, leader of Facebook Messenger and former PayPal president was assigned to lead Facebook’s blockchain initiatives.
Although the new team hasn’t been discussed publicly, it is focused on how to best leverage blockchain across the company, starting from scratch, as reported on Verge. In addition, the team now has 40 people in it, according to employee titles on LinkedIn.
Some people – who asked to remain unidentified about discussing the company’s internal plans – told Bloomberg that Facebook is reportedly seeking to build ‘stablecoin’, a type of digital currency with value based on US currency to reduce volatility often faced by high-tech alternatives such as Bitcoin. However, the company is far from introducing the coin, and its real-world implementation won’t happen anytime soon, Verge reported.
In a statement, Facebook spokesman said that the new blockchain team is exploring various applications and currently don’t have anything to share.
WhatsApp is probably Facebook’s most popular encrypted mobile-messaging app with over 200 million users in India. According to World Bank, India leads in remittances across the globe, with people sending around $69 billion home to India in 2017.
In the past year, there were over 120 ventures on cryptocurrency related to stablecoins or stable token, though many have been collapsed. Tether, one of the most high-profile stablecoin, also faced a lot of controversies this year. The creators claimed that each of its coin is backed by one US dollar, but refused to be audited, raising many questions.
As reported in Bloomberg, Facebook may have better chance of creating stablecoins that last, standing strong with 2.5 billion users at global level, an annual revenue worth over $40 billion, and more experience managing regulatory issues.