Facebook has been very surreptitious about its blockchain initiatives; however, it seems to be a very difficult job for the tech giant to keep everything hidden for very long. Company’s crypto initiatives have been in news for quite some time now in spite of it not disclosing much information openly. As per latest reports, Facebook has filed charter for its well-known project Libra in Switzerland, which is known to be among crypto-friendly jurisdictions. Facebook is looking to set up Libra networks as a Financial-Technology (Fintech) company.
The filings indicate that the company will develop hardware and software and provide services related to blockchain, data analytics, and payments. Switzerland has been competing to attract the attention of the global crypto industry and the country has recently introduced various accommodative legislations. In fact, its Zug town has the reputation of Europe’s ‘Crypto Valley’. Hence, the choice did not come as a surprise to industry observers.
With over 2 billion customer base, Facebook has an inherited advantage that the company is looking to materialize by leveraging crypto and blockchain technology in the near future. Mark Zuckerberg, the Chief Executive Officer of the tech giant, has been vocal about future implications of distributed ledge technologies and how it can play a critical role in the firm’s future endeavors.
Project Libra is not a new thing as it was launched more than a year ago when it was used for money transfers between users of Whatsapp application. However, its scope seems to be multiplied as Facebook is looking to incorporate e-commerce payments, rewards for viewing ads and online shopping among many other things.
Media reports suggest that a stablecoin derivative, dubbed as ‘FaceCoin’, will drive cross-border payment service through blockchain platforms initially. As Facebook has not revealed much data or information regarding this project, speculations are that a pilot project is already running in India which supports millions of Indian expats to regularly send funds in the home country. A formal launch is expected in the second half of 2019.
However, Facebook is not the only company that is working in this digital space as many other crypto startups are also looking to exploit this new field. The Zulu Republic, for example, recently launched a ‘Bot’ to facilitate Whatsapp users in sending and receiving Bitcoin and other currencies.
Considering the scope of Facebook activities, it has had several challenges related to its blockchain projects, such as privacy concerns by US legislators, legal hurdles in India and filing difficulties. The company seems confident to overcome these challenges in order to design a better crypto product for the upcoming future.