Facebook reveals digital currency, Bitcoin gets a boost

By Jeff Davies

Facebook has announced plans to create a new digital currency and financial system to transform the way money moves around the world, and not just on its own apps.

The social networking giant is leading a consortium to create an open-source digital currency called Libra, set to launch in the first half of next year. The goal is for developers to create services for consumers to send money around the world easily and for free — with the same convenience as sending a photo or a message.

Unlike bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which can be hugely volatile and speculative, Libra will be backed by relatively stable government-backed money. “If you buy $50 of Libra, your $50 makes its way to the Libra Reserve,” said Marcus. “It’s designed to be stable and confer values on Libra that makes it more like a traditional currency than any of the digital currencies are now. This is the way paper money was created.”

The fact that the Libra blockchain is open-source means that anyone can build a service or app that uses the currency. The wallets that are developed to use the service will be interoperable, so you’ll be able to send money from Facebook’s Calibra wallet to any other system that accepts Libra.

Bitcoin gets a boost

Reports that Facebook Inc. FB, +4.24% is about to roll out a cryptocurrency as soon as Tuesday has helped bitcoin to notch its best weekly trading period in about three weeks. The social-media giant will unveil a new crypto-payment platform that could facilitate digital payments not just on Facebook’s site but anywhere on the internet. Participants reportedly include an array of heavyweight backers, like Mastercard Inc., PayPal Holdings Inc., UberTechnologies and Visa Inc.

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