Report: Facebook’s Blockchain Team Prepping For Launch Of Crypto Asset
Silicon Valley darlings have been hesitant to make an all-out foray into the crypto and blockchain space. Yet, as Bitcoin peaked in late-2017, rumors began to arise that Facebook, arguably the most well-recognized company in the world, was starting to build out a significant blockchain division.
While little was known about what the team was working on, the rumors were that the company was looking into launching its own digital asset. Per sources, this may just be true. Better yet, Facebook may be on the verge of releasing the venture to the public.
Around two months ago, Bloomberg divulged that the Menlo Park-based social media giant is looking to launch a crypto asset. The early-stage project, unveiled by an anonymous insider, will reportedly see Facebook’s blockchain arm launch a USD-tied stablecoin on WhatsApp, a multinational messaging platform owned by the technology conglomerate.
Per the source, the integration in WhatsApp will be aimed at India’s ~200 million users, as there is a growing need for low-cost, rapid, and easy-to-use remittance transactions. Bloomberg explained that Facebook has been hesitant to divulge the venture, due to purported struggles regarding how to formally custody the underlying USD.
While the original report made it sound like the project is in its nascency, a piece from Nathaniel Popper of the New York Times claims that “Facebookcoin” (or whatever else they call it) is closer than when crypto enthusiasts initially expected.
Facebook's new digital token is far enough along that they are talking to cryptocurrency exchanges about listing it, we heard. The current plan is for each coin to be pegged to a basket of foreign currencies, to keep the value stable. https://t.co/liup4kwoi8
— Nathaniel Popper (@nathanielpopper) February 28, 2019
Citing five individuals purportedly privy to Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the asset, which was confirmed to be centered around the social media conglomerate’s WhatsApp user base, could see listing on traditional exchanges. Four of the five insiders noted that Facebook has held conversations with presumably notable, regulated, and respected cryptocurrency exchanges, which remain unnamed.
Facebook Connect May Go Blockchain
The New York Times’ exposé on the subject matter of Facebook’s very own digital asset comes just days after Mark Zuckerberg mentioned decentralized systems (blockchain technologies) in an interview.
Per previous reports from BlockGeeks, Zuck claimed that account authentication is a blockchain use case he is “potentially interested in.” He claimed that if this project comes to fruition, it would replace Facebook Connect, allowing individuals to determine what apps and partners can access their personal data in a decentralized manner. Zuckerberg elaborated:
“You basically take your information, you store it on some decentralized system and you have the choice of whether to log in in different places and you’re not going through an intermediary.”
The proposed system, which remains unnamed, could be monumental for the company, especially in terms of restoring its own reputation.
The Most Important Company In Crypto?
While some have been overtly sardonic of Facebook’s intentions with its crypto-related efforts, with some citing the all-seeing eye (think Sauron from the Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings) that Zuckerberg and his crew access, others have been optimistic.
Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, an anti-establishment figure best known for his incessant cries of “long Bitcoin, short the bankers,” recently took to a publication he heads to clap Facebook’s blockchain team on the back. In an installment of Off The Chain, Pomp remarked that whether Facebook creates its own currency, a decentralized medium of communication, or an offering of a similar caliber, the product itself will garner global traction, while “changing the way billions of people live their lives.”
Pompliano, who currently heads the digital assets arm of Morgan Creek, even quipped that consumers should “never underestimate Mark Zuckerberg,” adding that the team at the firm, which he was once a part of, is “notorious” for its ability to single-handedly catapult offerings to the moon and back. And in the end, even if the technology giant doesn’t decide to go ahead with a stablecoin, the industry pundit maintained that Facebook is the most important company in crypto’s short, yet impactful history.