Is the Social Media Giant About to Take Crypto Payments to Millions of Users? What's the Latest Expert Analysis?
Over the course of the past few months, Facebook has been making quiet advances within the field of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. This is quite surprising, especially since the mainstream media’s recent narrative regarding this space has been quite negative to say the lease.
However, when a company as big as Facebook— whose customer base is touted to be 2 billion strong — enters the crypto arena, a lot of newfound attention is bound to hit this space.
Let’s Start From The Beginning
Over a month back, a variety of media outlets were reporting that Facebook was all set to launch a new crypto token for its Whatsapp customers. Initially, it was being rumored that this financial offering would be a stablecoin whose value would be pegged to a different currency that FB users had in their possession.
Similarly, a few days later, another news piece claimed that Facebook’s blockchain team was looking to hire more than 60 new employees. Then, after weeks of prolonged secrecy, Mark Zuckerberg finally came forth and talked about these developments:
“People are more cautious of having a permanent record of what they’ve shared. And we all expect to be able to do things like payments privately and securely. We plan to build this the way we’ve developed WhatsApp: focus on the most fundamental and private use case — messaging — make it as secure as possible, and then build more ways for people to interact on top of that, including calls, video chats, groups, stories, businesses, payments, commerce, and ultimately a platform for many other kinds of private services.”
So Why Is FB Pushing It’s Crypto Agenda So Hard All Of A Sudden?
For those of our readers who may recall, these latest efforts to create a virtual currency have previously been mirrored in 2011 when Facebook tried to develop FB Credits— a digital token that could be used to facilitate purchases within games like Zynga Poker and FarmVille.
Similarly, a few years back, the company once renewed its efforts to launch a VC by deploying Facebook Messenger Payments— a platform that was designed to help facilitate payments between the US, France, and UK.
Other Key Facets to bear in Mind
- Rolling out a digital currency does not require FB to possess either a banking license or a government’s approval.
- As mentioned earlier, Facebook’s latest token will be a stablecoin whose value will be backed by real money.
- Using its pre-existing platform, Facebook will be able to enable global user-to-user and user-to-business payments.
What Advantages Does FB Have Over Its Rivals?
(i) Facebook does not need to create a new operational protocol, instead, it can simply deploy its existing one.
(ii) The company can also reuse current wallets and integrate them into WhatsApp.
(iii) Once its currency is ready to be deployed, Facebook users of every country will be able to buy the firm’s crypto offerings with the touch of a button.
Other Firms That Have Explored The Possibility Of Launching Their Very Own Crypto
- Telegram: Many of our readers may recall that during the first half of 2018, Telegram was able to raise a whopping $1.7 billion from accredited investors via its ICO. Recently, a spokesperson for the firm came forth and announced the launch of a blockchain-based platform that would allow users to facilitate crypto payments, file storage and more.
- Line: The a customer base of more than 500 million users, the premier messaging service recently launched LINE Token Economy— a platform that is designed to facilitate token transfers within the LINE ecosystem.
- Kakao: Kakao is a S. Korean messaging service provider that released a blockchain platform called Klatyn last year. The new platform was designed to help users “guard and transfer their crypto holdings without having to deal with the complexities of things like private keys”.
While it is still quite early to say how Facebook’s efforts to bring cryptocurrencies to masses will play out, one thing that is clear is that the international giant is striving hard to unlock the full potential of this burgeoning technological domain.
With that being said, do we really want Facebook to be the company that brings crypto to the masses— especially after we know that the firm has previously indulged in a host of shady activities such as:
- Breaching users’ rights
- Selling private customer data etc
Only time will tell whether this decision plays out well for FB and expected. Till then, all we can do is patiently wait and watch. For now, the bet is still on bitcoin being the people's money and should be the hedge against all financial mediums and future outcomes if one properly understands where the future of finance is heading.