Facebook said it plans to launch its own currency in 2020. Calibra is a newly formed Facebook subsidiary that will let people access and participate in the Libra network — a nonprofit organization that was founded by Facebook.
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 Facebook expects to launch this sometime in 2020.
Facebook said that nearly half the world’s population doesn’t use banking services and is looking to target this group which numbers close to two billion people.
Calibra will let you send Libra to almost anyone with a smartphone, as easily and instantly as you might send a text message and at low to no cost. And, in time, Facebook hopes to offer additional services for people and businesses, like paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.
The Libra Association will be responsible for facilitating the development of the Libra Blockchain and managing the Libra Reserve. Members of the Libra Association will be made up of major global businesses, nonprofit and multilateral organizations, and academic institutions. The initial group of organizations that will work together on finalizing the association’s charter and become “Founding Members” upon its completion are, by industry:
- 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
Over the coming months, the association and its members will be recruiting additional members to further diversify and support the network. Facebook says it will also be raising money in a private placement to help jumpstart the ecosystem and drive adoption.