(NBC News) – Facebook has announced plans to enter the banking business by launching a new digital currency.
The social media giant says it wants to make sending money around the world as easy as sending a photo or message with the new “Libra” cryptocurrency.
Unlike Bitcoin, Libra will be tied in with regulated currencies and backed by a reserve of financial assets.
“It’s meant to be quite stable, to reduce volatility,” says Citigroup analyst Mark May.
Facebook is one of 28 partners including Paypal, Visa and Uber that will oversee the currency when it launches in the first half of next year.
“We don’t have control over the network, we don’t have control over the currency,” notes Facebook’s David Marcus.
Facebook will control “Calibra,” a digital wallet to use the currency. The company plans to build the app into Whatsapp and Messenger.
Facebook says the technology behind Libra is open source, and other competitors can make their own digital wallets to use it.
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