Public interest in cryptocurrency could be set for a rebound as social media giant Facebook is planning to announce its own digital coin later this month according to a new report from The Information (opens in new tab).
Last year, the company appointed former PayPal executive David Marcus to start exploring possible opportunities with blockchain and this led to speculation that it could be developing its own cryptocurrency for use on its platform.
Anticipation has grown since then and several media outlets have reported that Facebook is indeed building its own digital currency called GlobalCoin which consumers would be able to store, trade and exchange for regular currency through WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
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Surprisingly, The Information's report also revealed that the company is planning to release physical machines similar to ATMs where users can buy its cryptocurrency in person.
Facebook has repeatedly faced pressure from privacy advocates and lawmakers over its advertising business which is why launching its own cryptocurrency could make sense as way to diversify its revenue streams. A digital coin would also be an easy way for Facebook's 2bn users to pay for items on its Marketplace and exchange money between countries at a much lower price or perhaps even for free.
During this year's F8 developer conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg also made a point to highlight how important of an area payments is to the company.
According to the report, Facebook has even begun to solicit third-party organizations to act as nodes that will help manage its cryptocurrency. However, this privilege comes at a steep price and the company has discussed charging each node organization $10m.
Cryptocurrency nodes are utilized to resolve the complicated mathematical equations needed to validate transactions and while they are typically decentralized, Facebook is planning to create a foundation with named partners to help manage its new digital coin offering.