Facebook cryptocurrency being developed in Switzerland, reports say

The social network set up a company called Libra Networks to work on its own payments and blockchain systems, according to a Swiss news site.

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Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Facebook has reportedly set up a company called Libra Networks to work on payments and blockchain systems.

Angela Lang/CNET

Facebook  may be a little closer to creating its own virtual money for you to send around to your friends.

The social network giant has reportedly set up a company in Switzerland to focus on payments and blockchain, the technology powering cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

A Facebook cyrptocurrency would be tied to the US dollar, Swiss publication Handelszeitung said, and could therefore remain stable unlike bitcoin, which started crashing back in 2017.

Facebook set up Libra Networks in Geneva several weeks ago, Handelszeitung said, noting that Libra is the social network's internal project name for the digital currency.

The Swiss company is owned by Facebook Global Holdings II in Ireland, the report said, and will focus on developing the software and hardware for currency-related functions like payments, blockchain, analytics, big data, and identity management.

Facebook declined to comment, but the report follows a story from The New York Times in February that Facebook had a team of 50 working on its virtual currency to be used across the social network and on its WhatsApp messaging service.

At the time, Facebook declined to comment on the currency plans, but did confirm it's working on blockchain systems.

"Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology," it said in a statement. "This new small team is exploring many different applications."

Blockchain is an encryption technology that builds up a set of data blocks recording transactions and who made them. No one party controls the data, which is decentralized.

Watch this: What the heck is blockchain?