Facebook ‘to launch cryptocurrency in 2020’

Facebook is preparing to launch its own cryptocurrency in 2020, it has been reported.

The social media giant will set up the digital payment system in about 12 countries in the first three months of next year, according to the BBC.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly discussed the plan with Bank of England governor Mark Carney and consulted the US treasury about operational and regulatory issues.

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The company is expected to announce details of the cryptocurrency, known internally as GlobalCoin, this summer and begin testing the system later this year.

Facebook first confirmed it was “exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology” last year, when it was reported to be working on a system that lets users convert currencies into digital coins and transfer money over its WhatsApp messaging apps.

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1/15 Facebook is born

On 4 Feb, 2004, 19-year-old Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg launched a website called ‘TheFacebook’ from his dorm. Within 24 hours the college social network had more than 1,000 users

Wikimedia Commons

2/15 Winklevoss twins sue Zuckerberg

Within one week of launching, fellow Harvard students Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra accused Zuckerberg of stealing their idea. It would be four years later when the resulting lawsuit was finally settled

3/15 Open for business

The social network finally opened it platform to everyone on 26 September, 2006. The move proved the catalyst in supercharging the site’s already explosive growth

PA

4/15 Billion-dollar bid

Yahoo offered $1 billion to buy Facebook in September 2006 but Zuckerberg turned it down. ‘I don’t know what I could do with the money,’ Zuckerberg reportedly said. ‘I’d just start another social networking site’

Reuters

5/15 In the money

In September 2009, almost five years since the site launched, Facebook turned a profit for the first time

Getty Images/iStockphoto

6/15 Taking the lead

Facebook overtook MySpace in 2010 to become the world’s most popular social network

7/15 Taking on the tech giants

In 2011, Google launched its own social network that it hoped would knock Facebook from its perch. Despite its initial success, Google+ ultimately failed and will be shut down completely in 2019

Getty

8/15 Facebook goes public

On 18 May, 2012, Facebook went public. The initial public offering raised $16 billion – the third largest in US history

9/15 Gobbling up the competition

Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2012 for $1 billion, consolidating its position as the world’s leading social network

Reuters

10/15 One billion users

On 4 October, 2012, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook had hit 1 billion users. ‘If you’re reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honour of serving you,’ he wrote in a blog post

Getty Images

11/15 Expanding its empire

In February 2014 Facebook acquired the messaging app WhatsApp for $19.3 billion

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

12/15 Two billion users

In June 2017, Facebook passed the 2 billion user milestone

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

13/15 Privacy scandal

On 17 March 2018, news broke that UK firm Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from around 87 million Facebook users for the purpose of political profiling in the build up to the 2016 US presidential elections

Shutterstock

14/15 Record profits

Despite the scandals and subsequent #DeleteFacebook campaign, Facebook posted record profits just before its 15th anniversary, the equivalent of $7.37 from each of its 2.32 billions users

iStock/Independent

15/15 Unhappy users

A study found that people are happier when they don’t use Facebook, adding to mounting evidence surrounding the impact social media has on mental health

Rex Features

1/15 Facebook is born

On 4 Feb, 2004, 19-year-old Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg launched a website called ‘TheFacebook’ from his dorm. Within 24 hours the college social network had more than 1,000 users

Wikimedia Commons

2/15 Winklevoss twins sue Zuckerberg

Within one week of launching, fellow Harvard students Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra accused Zuckerberg of stealing their idea. It would be four years later when the resulting lawsuit was finally settled

3/15 Open for business

The social network finally opened it platform to everyone on 26 September, 2006. The move proved the catalyst in supercharging the site’s already explosive growth

PA

4/15 Billion-dollar bid

Yahoo offered $1 billion to buy Facebook in September 2006 but Zuckerberg turned it down. ‘I don’t know what I could do with the money,’ Zuckerberg reportedly said. ‘I’d just start another social networking site’

Reuters

5/15 In the money

In September 2009, almost five years since the site launched, Facebook turned a profit for the first time

Getty Images/iStockphoto

6/15 Taking the lead

Facebook overtook MySpace in 2010 to become the world’s most popular social network

7/15 Taking on the tech giants

In 2011, Google launched its own social network that it hoped would knock Facebook from its perch. Despite its initial success, Google+ ultimately failed and will be shut down completely in 2019

Getty

8/15 Facebook goes public

On 18 May, 2012, Facebook went public. The initial public offering raised $16 billion – the third largest in US history

9/15 Gobbling up the competition

Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2012 for $1 billion, consolidating its position as the world’s leading social network

Reuters

10/15 One billion users

On 4 October, 2012, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook had hit 1 billion users. ‘If you’re reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honour of serving you,’ he wrote in a blog post

Getty Images

11/15 Expanding its empire

In February 2014 Facebook acquired the messaging app WhatsApp for $19.3 billion

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

12/15 Two billion users

In June 2017, Facebook passed the 2 billion user milestone

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

13/15 Privacy scandal

On 17 March 2018, news broke that UK firm Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from around 87 million Facebook users for the purpose of political profiling in the build up to the 2016 US presidential elections

Shutterstock

14/15 Record profits

Despite the scandals and subsequent #DeleteFacebook campaign, Facebook posted record profits just before its 15th anniversary, the equivalent of $7.37 from each of its 2.32 billions users

iStock/Independent

15/15 Unhappy users

A study found that people are happier when they don’t use Facebook, adding to mounting evidence surrounding the impact social media has on mental health

Rex Features

Earlier this month, the firm established a new financial technology company focusing on blockchain – the technology on which cryptocurrencies run – as well as payments, data analytics and investing.

Libra Networks, with Facebook Global Holdings as stakeholder, was registered in Geneva on 2 May to provide financial and technology services and develop related hardware and software, plans submitted on the Swiss register show.

A secret team of around 50 Facebook employees have been working on the cryptocurrency, The New York Times reported earlier this year.

The US Senate banking committee has raised questions about the project’s implications for consumer privacy. It wrote to Mr Zuckerberg this month asking him to address legal, regulatory and privacy concerns.

Facebook, which has 2.38 billion active users, has faced prolonged criticism over misuse of personal data.

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