After several weeks of insider leaks and rumors, Facebook has officially announced plans to launch its own digital currency in 2020. Named Libra, despite running on the Libra Blockchain, the digital currency is more of a stable coin rather than a cryptocurrency in the traditional sense as we have become accustomed to with the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Libra will be launched in 2020 as part of the Libra Association, an independent, not-for-profit membership organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland whose purpose is to coordinate and provide a framework for governance for the Libra network.

"Today we’re sharing plans for Calibra, a newly formed Facebook subsidiary whose goal is to provide financial services that will let people access and participate in the Libra network. The first product Calibra will introduce is a digital wallet for Libra, a new global currency powered by blockchain technology. The wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app — and we expect to launch in 2020."

Calibra app demo screens. The app will be the wallett for the soon to be launched Libra digital currency.

Digital currency for the world

Already, Libra has the backing of several organizations apart from Facebook. Through what is known as the Libra Association, each of the founding members will invest $10 million each towards the project.

They are:

  • Payments: Mastercard, PayPal, PayU (Naspers’ fintech arm), Stripe, Visa
  • Technology and marketplaces: Booking Holdings, eBay, Facebook/Calibra, Farfetch, Lyft,
  • Mercado Pago, Spotify AB, Uber Technologies, Inc.
  • Telecommunications: Iliad, Vodafone Group
  • Blockchain: Anchorage, Bison Trails, Coinbase, Inc., Xapo Holdings Limited
  • Venture Capital: Andreessen Horowitz, Breakthrough Initiatives, Ribbit Capital, Thrive Capital,
  • Union Square Ventures
  • Nonprofit and multilateral organizations, and academic institutions: Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva,
  • Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking

"For many people around the world, even basic financial services are still out of reach: almost half of the adults in the world don’t have an active bank account and those numbers are worse in developing countries and even worse for women. The cost of that exclusion is high — approximately 70% of small businesses in developing countries lack access to credit and $25 billion is lost by migrants every year through remittance fees," reads a statement by Facebook announcing the Calibra app.

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