Internet giant Facebook is developing its own cryptocurrency for its instant messaging service WhatsApp, according to a report on Bloomberg published on Friday, Dec. 21. According to the report, “people familiar with the matter” revealed that the social media company was planning a dollar-pegged cryptocurrency otherwise known as stablecoin to be used on WhatsApp. Facebook had acquired WhatsApp in 2014 and has constantly added more features to the app since then. A payment transfer feature will be the most pronounced change but it will not come as a sudden move. The company had hired David Marcus a former PayPal president in 2014. Earlier in the year, Marcus moved from his role in the Messenger app to head a newly form Blockchain Division. He later resigned his role at Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange to avoid conflict of interest. As Smartereum reported, the move raised rumors that Facebook were planning a cryptocurrency product; the rumor was intensified when Facebook appointed a senior engineer Evan Cheng as its first blockchain engineering director and put out openings for blockchain developers. Apart from this, Facebook has kept its blockchain activities well-guarded from the public. A company spokesperson said in May:
“Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology […] this new small [blockchain] team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”According to Bloomberg’s sources, the rollout of Facebook’s cryptocurrency will begin in India where WhatsApp has over 200 million monthly active users. India has a huge market for remittances. World Bank data show that the country had the second largest remittances ($69 billion) in 2017. Though they didn’t give a definite timeframe for the launch, the sources said it is still in a planning stage. “Facebook is far from releasing the coin, because it’s still working on the strategy, including a plan for custody assets, or regular currencies that would be held to protect the value of the stablecoin,” the people were quoted as saying.