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Facebook reportedly wants to create its own cryptocurrency

Earlier rumors indicated the social media giant was researching blockchain. Now it looks like that's for a payment system.

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Ian Knighton/CNET

Facebook may be looking to create its own cryptocurrency.

The social network is "very serious" about the possibility of building its own digital currency for secure online payments, a person familiar with Facebook's plans told news site Cheddar. This follows reports from earlier this week that the company formed a blockchain team to research applications for the technology.

In response to a request for comment, Facebook said it's looking into several applications for blockchain technology but didn't offer specifics.

"Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology," said a Facebook representative in an emailed statement. "This new small team will be exploring many different applications. We don't have anything further to share."

There's been huge interest lately in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are electronic alternatives to government-issued money. Blockchain is the digital ledger technology that powers these cryptocurrencies. While cryptocurrencies still aren't widely used for buying goods and services, a version created by Facebook for its 2.2 billion users around the world could change that.