Facebook launching Cryptocurrency for WhatsApp users

  • Shaibana Sherafudheen
  • Published: JANUARY 11, 2019
Facebook launching Cryptocurrency for WhatsApp users

It was first reported in The Independent early in 2018, about Facebook’s plans to launch its private cryptocurrency for WhatsApp users. In the middle of the disrepute that FaceBook is currently facing it is expanding a cryptocurrency that would enable WhatsApp users to transfer money.

It is revealed that the WhatsApp feature will concentrate more ‘on the remittances market in India’ and the currency will be called by ‘stablecoin’, which will be pegged to the US dollar with the intention of minimising fluctuating.

Facebook has been gearing up for this with one of the biggest management hauls in the company’s history. The appointment of the former PayPal president David Marcus as the head of their Messenger is seen as a major move in taking strides towards a blockchain implementation. Marcus began to head the blockchain initiatives team, that is introducing these financial services to both its original application as well as the Messenger. It also reflects Facebook’s longtime intention of its foray into finance.

FB will be focussing more on remitting the currency in the Indian market where it has more than 200 million users. Though it is still far from releasing the coin. According to a Facebook spokesperson, the company is exploring ways to leverage Blockchain like many other companies. FB has revealed no further details on the project despite a number of requests for clarity on the type of application the team is working on.

It is perhaps the first time that cryptocurrency is being applied to a platform with such a huge user base. With  WhatsApp users of  around 2.5 billion people in the world, it is expected to take over the bitcoin and poised to be the first truly mainstream cryptocurrency.

Though it is not clear when the innovation might become active, it is predicted to take a long time before it gets materialised. A change in the overall strategy of the company is quite discernible with more emphasis being accorded to the safeguarding of assets and implementing features that are seen as supporting the cryptocurrency launch.

Though this social media giant has kept the details of the project undercover for some time now, it has however been hiring people for its blockchain group with a forty member team working in the blockchain assembly.

"Cryptocurrency is already recognised as a digital alternative used by millions for the safe and secure transfer of funds online, so enabling it to be used on platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp is the next logical step in its progression," said Alex El-Nemer, director of blockchain enterprise Nexus.

WhatsApp has been fetching an annual revenue of around $40 billion globally. Given its size, global acceptance and participation in handling regulation, the company has a good chance of seeing a wide aceptance of its Stablecoin also being the first of the tech giants to be launching such a project. Besides this it is providing its users a good interface for payment transfers to purchase goods and services at the touch of a button.

WhatsApp has been gripped in controversy related to the spreading of fake news in India, some of which has led to incidents of lynching. Eyeing the huge market potential in India Facebook has been in negotiations with the Department of Telecommunications in helping trace the origin of these fake news though it is in violation with its security and privacy terms.

Industries and organisations should begin to acknowledge this as the beginning of a new era for an alternate payment options and begin to integrate services for this inevitable adoption that will be the future.  

Shaibana Sherafudheen Research Analyst
  • Last updated: Dec 4, 2018 16:05 IST
  • TOPICS: Around The World   Business   Future   Innovations   News   Technology  

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