Facebook Reportedly Working on Cryptocurrency Platform to Rival Apple Pay

Facebook is reportedly getting into the cryptocurrency game.

According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, Facebook has reportedly been in talks with various payment processors, e-commerce merchants, and other financial firms to get them to support a cryptocurrency-based payments system it’s currently developing.

Central to the cryptocurrency initiative — which is codenamed Project Libra and has been underway for more than a year — “is a digital coin that its users could send to each other and use to make purchases both on Facebook and across the internet, according to people familiar with the matter,” the Journal reported.

The report suggests that Facebook is already in talks with payment processing giants Mastercard and Visa. The Facebook Coin is likely to be a stablecoin, pegged by the U.S. Dollar, and underpinned by the blockchain technology. Facebook reportedly plans to launch its cryptocurrency across its own suite of messaging applications.

According to the report, Facebook intends to raise up to $1 billion USD in investments collectively from these firms in order to act as collateral to bolster and back the stablecoin.

Similar to something like PayPal in the fact that it’s available in many places, Facebook sees the coin as something that can be used directly on the social network or on other websites where purchases can be made. There are even talks of rewarding users with pieces of these coins based on ad-viewing or purchases made on the platform.

Additionally, the social network is said to be aiming to eliminate the swipe and card processing fees, generally around 2–3 percent, paid by merchants on every transaction to banks and payments processors and networks. “If it succeeds, the project threatens the card networks’ dominance over global payments,” the report reads.

Facebook didn’t comment directly on the report, but noted via email that it’s  “exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology.”

“This new small team is exploring many different applications,” a spokesperson wrote.