Facebook plans to launch a cryptocurrency next year

Mark ZuckerbergFacebook has plans in place to launch its own cryptocurrency by as early as the first quarter of 2020, enabling users to change fiat currency into digital coins for payments and money transfers.

The blockchain-run currency, dubbed GlobalCoin, could begin testing by the end of the year and, according to the BBC, Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has already spoken to Bank of England governor Mark Carney to discuss the plans – codenamed ‘Project Libra’ – and the risks involved.

Facebook has also been in talks with money transfer firms, including Western Union, and has looked to the US Treasury for advice on operational and regulatory issues.

Facebook’s plan to introduce a cryptocurrency was first reported in December – when it was revealed that the social network was working on a stablecoin for its WhatsApp messaging app. A stablecoin minimises volatility by being linked to existing national currencies.

The social network’s creation of a cryptocurrency has been expected for several years. In 2014, Facebook hired former PayPal president David Marcus to run its Messenger app. Then, in May last year, it made him the head of the company’s blockchain initiatives.