While different sources are claiming different expectations, Facebook Coin should be rolled out on Messenger, Instagram, and/or WhatsApp, if not all three, hitting a giant user base of over 2.7 billion users.
The release of Facebook Coin is sooner than some would have guessed, considering a December 2018 Bloomberg report which reads:
“The company is developing a stablecoin — a type of digital currency pegged to the U.S. dollar — to minimize volatility, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal plans. Facebook is far from releasing the coin, because it’s still working on the strategy, including a plan for custody assets, or regular currencies that would be held to protect the value of the stablecoin, the people said.”
Evidently, the release is not so far away and it’s possible that they felt pressure after banking giant JP Morgan released its stablecoin just this month, as reported by coinz.com.
It is rumored that Facebook’s blockchain department is particularly secret, blocked off from the rest of the organization, but it’s no secret that they are taking blockchain seriously. At the time of this writing, there are 18 open blockchain related positions at Facebook.
JP Morgan and Facebook may the first of major companies to hop on the stablecoin bandwagon. Telegram and Signal may join in on the action as well.
Nathaniel Popper and Mike Isaac at the NYT reported on the matter, with this excerpt:
“The Facebook project is far enough along that the social networking giant has held conversations with cryptocurrency exchanges about selling the Facebook coin to consumers, said four people briefed on the negotiations.
Telegram, which has an estimated 300 million users worldwide, is also working on a digital coin. Signal, an encrypted messaging service that is popular among technologists and privacy advocates, has its own coin in the works. And so do the biggest messaging applications in Korea and Japan, Kakao and Line.
The messaging companies have a reach that dwarfs the backers of earlier cryptocurrencies. Facebook and Telegram can make the digital wallets used for cryptocurrencies available, in an instant, to hundreds of millions of users.”
Overall, this is positive news for the blockchain industry, but at a practical level, blockchain enthusiasts are not very excited about another stablecoin. Tokenizing fiat money is nothing special, and it seems that these companies are using blockchain as a buzzword more than anything else. There’s no reason Facebook can’t use Tether, USDC, Dai, or the other various stablecoins available in their platform. Overall, this seems like a marketing gimmick which may serve the overall blockchain industry well, potentially onboarding millions of new users to the decentralized ecosystem some day.
Will Facebook and these major companies get in on the real, decentralized, trustless system that blockchain offers with Bitcoin and Ethereum? We hope so, but for now, they are acting as expected.