Facebook reveals global cryptocurrency ‘ecosystem’

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

Global social media behemoth, Facebook, has announced its entry to the cryptocurrency world with the launch of a new subsidiary called Calibra. 

The goal is to provide financial services that will let people access and participate in the Libra network. The first product Calibra will introduce is a digital wallet for Libra, a new global currency powered by blockchain technology. 

The wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app. Facebook said it expects it to launch in 2020.

“If you have an internet connection today, you can access all kinds of useful services for little to no cost — whether you’re trying to keep in touch with family and friends, learn new things or even start a business”, Facebook said in a statement. “But when it comes to saving, sending and spending money, it’s not that simple.”

The firm said that for many people around the world, even basic financial services are still out of reach: almost half of the adults in the world don’t have an active bank account and those numbers are worse in developing countries and even worse for women. 

The cost of that exclusion is high — approximately 70% of small businesses in developing countries lack access to credit and $25 billion is lost by migrants every year through remittance fees.

This is the challenge Facebook said it is hoping to address with Calibra, a new digital wallet that can be used to save, send and spend Libra.

Smartphone access 

From the beginning, Calibra will let you send Libra to almost anyone with a smartphone, as easily and instantly as you might send a text message and at low to no cost. 

And, in time, Facebook hopes to offer additional services for people and businesses, like paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.

Strong protections 

When it launches, Calibra will have strong protections in place to keep your money and your information safe, Facebook said. 

“We’ll be using all the same verification and anti-fraud processes that banks and credit cards use, and we’ll have automated systems that will proactively monitor activity to detect and prevent fraudulent behavior.” 

Live support 

It will also offer dedicated live support to help if you lose your phone or your password — and if someone fraudulently gains access to your account and you lose some Libra as a result, we’ll offer you a refund.

Privacy promise

“We’ll also take steps to protect your privacy”, the firm said. “Aside from limited cases, Calibra will not share account information or financial data with Facebook or any third party without customer consent. 

“This means Calibra customers’ account information and financial data will not be used to improve ad targeting on the Facebook family of products. The limited cases where this data may be shared reflect our need to keep people safe, comply with the law and provide basic functionality to the people who use Calibra.” 

Calibra will use Facebook data to comply with the law, secure customers’ accounts, mitigate risk and prevent criminal activity. 

Facebook said it’s still early in the process of developing Calibra. Along the way it said it will be consulting with a wide range of experts to make sure we can deliver a product that is safe, private and easy to use for everyone. 

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