Facebook, Instagram, Signal are said to be planning to roll out new cryptocurrencies over the next year which are aimed at allowing users to send money to contacts on their messaging systems like Venmo or PayPal that can move across international borders. Facebook is silently working on a coin that user of WhatsApp could send to friends and family instantly, according to a latest report from The New York Times.
The social media giant has held conversations with cryptocurrency exchanges about selling the Facebook coin to consumers. On the other hand, Telegram which was an estimated 300 million users worldwide is also working on a digital coin. Signal, an encrypted messaging service has its own coin in the works. So do other big messaging applications South Korea and Japan, Kakao, and Line. If had the right idea, Facebook and Telegram could make the digital wallets used for cryptocurrencies available, in an instant, to hundreds of millions of users. Most of the companies are said to be working on digital coins that could exist on a decentralized network of computers, independent to some degree of the companies that created them.
Like Bitcoin, the new cryptocurrencies would make it easier to move money between countries. The current designs being discussed generally do away with the energy-guzzling mining process that Bitcoin relies on. However, these and other companies that are hoping to implement this are likely to face many of the same regulatory and technological hurdles that have kept Bitcoin from going mainstream.
Facebook has more than 50 engineers working on its project. The company’s efforts in the crypto wallet run by a former president of PayPal, David Marcus, started last year after Telegram raised an eye-popping $1.7 billion to fund its cryptocurrency project. Facebook is looking at several ways to use the blockchain, the technology introduced by Bitcoin that makes it possible to keep shared records of financial transactions on several computers, rather than relying on one big central player like PayPal or Visa. Facebook could guarantee the value of the coin by backing every coin with a set number of dollars, euros and other national currencies held in Facebook bank accounts.
On the other hand, Telegram which is also working on cryptocurrencies said to have sent letters to investors saying that it was 90% done with the key components of the network that would house the Gram, the name for its digital token. The company has told investors that it hopes to have some version of the system out in the next few months. The privacy-focused messaging application Signal has raised $30 million last year and is trying to raise another $30 million.