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Facebook reveals plan to launch cryptocurrency Libra

Lawmakers could oppose the move given the controversies regarding Facebook security.

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MUMBAI: Social media giant Facebook moves ahead in the direction of entering the e-commerce sector as it revealed plans on Tuesday to launch a cryptocurrency called Libra. According to media reports, Facebook has linked with 28 partners in a Geneva-based entity called the Libra Association which will govern its new digital coin. It is due to arrive in the first half of 2020.

A subsidiary called Calibra has been created by Facebook which will not only offer digital wallets to save, send and spend Libras but will be connected to Facebook's messaging platforms Messenger and WhatsApp.

The FAANG company hopes it will power transactions between established consumers and businesses around the globe along with offering unbanked consumers access to financial services for the first time.

However, the move comes at a time when Facebook is already devastated with security-related controversies across the world. It seems the new step may face strong opposition from privacy advocates, consumer groups, regulators and lawmakers. It is very unclear right now how Facebook’s entry into the unregulated world of cryptocurrency will be perceived by lawmakers.

According to reports, company executives said it has engaged with regulators in the United States and abroad about the planned cryptocurrency. Kevin Weil, who runs product for the initiative in Facebook, hopes it can bring global regulators to the table by publicising Libra. "It gives us a basis to go and have productive conversations with regulators around the world," he said.

Facebook said that Calibra will conduct compliance checks on customers who want to use Libra, using commonplace verification and anti-fraud processes. Moreover, the company plans to refund customers who lose money because of fraud.

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