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Facebook cryptocurrency could be announced in June

The launch of a Facebook stable coin could be closer than we think. Here's the rumor roundup.

Corinne Reichert Senior Writer
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently oversees the CNET breaking news desk for the West Coast. Corinne covers everything from phones, social media and security to movies, politics, 5G and pop culture. In her spare time, she watches soccer games, F1 races and Disney movies.
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Corinne Reichert
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Facebook might be making its cryptocurrency  plans public with the release of a whitepaper on June 18.

As early as 2020, the social network could then be launching its own Facebook cryptocurrency, which would potentially provide users with an online payments system without fees or international transactions.

The June whitepaper would explain its crypto play, according to TechCrunch citing several investors who have been briefed on the Facebook project.

German magazine WirtschaftsWoche has also reported that the cryptocurrency would be tied to a "Währungskorb," or currency basket, rather than just the US dollar. The crypto could therefore remain stable, unlike bitcoin, which started crashing back in 2017.

TechCrunch said it was offered a news embargo for June 18 by the blockchain team at Facebook. That team is headed up by previous PayPal president and now vice president of Messenger David Marcus, with former VP of Product at Instagram Kevin Weil and previous head of Treasury Operations at Facebook Sunita Parasuraman serving under him, TechCrunch added.

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?

On Wednesday, it was reported that Facebook is planning to charge companies $10 million each to operate the nodes on its future cryptocurrency network. An independent foundation would manage the network behind the payments. Facebook is aiming to launch the network with 100 nodes, according to The Information.

Per node, the license to operate would reportedly be $10 million, which would mean Facebook pocketing $1 billion.

In exchange for paying the hefty fee, these companies would have a say in governance over the coin, according to TechCrunch, which explained that by decentralizing governance of the project, Facebook could also avoid regulation.

Facebook would also want to launch physical ATMs for its cryptocurrency, The Information said.

The social networking giant set up a company in Switzerland to focus on payments and blockchain, according to reports last month. Facebook set up Libra Networks in Geneva several months ago, Swiss publication 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, Handelszeitung said, and will focus on developing the software and hardware for currency-related functions like payments, blockchain, analytics, big data and identity management.

Back in February, The New York Times also reported 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 confirmed its work 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."

Facebook has declined to comment on the cryptocurrency project.

First published June 5 at 4:42 p.m. PT.  
Update June 6 at 11:46 a.m. PT: Adds information from the TechCrunch report.

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