Sources close to the situation have told Bloomberg that Facebook is developing plans for a stablecoin to be used on the messaging app ‘WhatsApp.’ A stablecoin is a cryptocurrency that has been designed with the intention to maintain a stable and reliable value.
The same sources have said that it will be quite some time before the cryptocurrency is available to WhatsApp users, as Facebook has yet to develop strategic plans for the coin’s release, including plans for how the coin would be stored.
The project’s first aim will reportedly be to focus on remittance markets in India. WhatsApp is reported to have more than 200 million users in India, and the country’s remittance market is said to be the largest in the world. More than $69 billion was estimated to have been sent home in the country last year alone.
The creation of the stablecoin will represent two long-anticipated moves by Facebook, both to take an official step into blockchain and the financial services arena. A move toward the financial sphere has been suspected ever since former PayPal president David Marcus was hired to operate the Facebook Messenger app in 2014.
In May of this year, Marcus was also named as the head of Facebook’s blockchain initiatives, which have remained largely under wraps. Finance Magnates reported earlier this year on the fact that Facebook had publicly posted a number of job openings for its blockchain group, which is now suspected to have roughly 40 employee members.
“Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology,” said a Facebook spokesman in a statement to Bloomberg. “This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg first expressed his interest in blockchain in his 2018 mission statement, when he said that he wanted to explore the positive and negative aspects of blockchain and other kinds of distributed ledger technologies.