Facebook unveiled plans Tuesday for a new global cryptocurrency called Libra, pledging to deliver a stable virtual money that lives on smartphones and brings over a billion “unbanked” people into the financial system.
The Libra coin plan, backed by financial and nonprofit partners, represents an ambitious new initiative for the world’s biggest social network with the potential to bring crypto-money out of the shadows and into the mainstream.
Facebook and some two dozen partners released a prototype of Libra as an open source code for developers interested in weaving it into apps, services or businesses ahead of a rollout as global digital money next year.
The nonprofit Libra Association based in Geneva will oversee the blockchain-based coin, maintaining a real-world asset reserve to keep its value stable.
The initiative has the potential to allow more than a billion “unbanked” people around the world access to online commerce and financial services at minimal cost, said Libra Association head of policy and communications Dante Disparte.