Facebook’s cryptocurrency will make its debut next year, according to a BBC report. Testing on the coin, which is referred to as GlobalCoin internally, will begin at the end of this year. The Menlo Park-based company has already begun talks with regulators around the world about the coin. The BBC report mentions Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s meeting with Bank of England Governor Mark Carney last month to discuss “opportunities and risks” involving the coin.
In an ironic twist of sorts, Facebook is also talking to Gemini and Coinbase to enable user custody of its coins. Gemini was founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the twins who accused Mark Zuckerberg of stealing their idea for a social network. But they are both exchanges with significant capital at their disposal and are regulated by authorities. For Facebook, which is caught in the crosshairs of regulators across the world, this is a positive.
Facebook has ambitious plans for GlobalCoin on its platform. According to previous reports, the coin is expected to become the central lever in a payments network that provides a slew of financial services to users, from the ability to purchase goods and services on Facebook to making international transfers without incurring the significant fees charged by other firms.
In fact, Facebook is already negotiating with credit card processing companies, such as Visa and MasterCard, to eliminate processing fees charged by them for such transfers. In addition to this, it is seeking $1 billion from them as backing for its stablecoin, a crypto that maintains parity with a pegged basket of goods. Reports surfaced in December last year that it was planning to introduce the stablecoin for international transfers on its messaging platform Whatsapp.
Facebook’s e-commerce plans are slightly more complicated. The company plans to pay users using its coin to view product ads. The coins can, subsequently, be accumulated and used to purchase other goods on Facebook. An e-commerce widget, similar to the Facebook login that enables access to multiple sites, is also in the works. But specific details about its working – such as payment mechanisms to be used at competing sites and cuts available to retailers – have not yet been reported publicly.