Facebook's Calibra cryptocurrency wallet already has competition

ZenGo's wallet will support Libra, a cryptocurrency Facebook plans to launch in 2020.

Queenie Wong Former Senior Writer
Queenie Wong was a senior writer for CNET News, focusing on social media companies including Facebook's parent company Meta, Twitter and TikTok. Before joining CNET, she worked for The Mercury News in San Jose and the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. A native of Southern California, she took her first journalism class in middle school.
Expertise I've been writing about social media since 2015 but have previously covered politics, crime and education. I also have a degree in studio art. Credentials
  • 2022 Eddie award for consumer analysis
Queenie Wong
2 min read
Facebook Libra Virtual Currency

Facebook plans to launch a new cryptocurrency called Libra in the first half of 2020. 

Thomas Trutschel/Getty Images

Facebook doesn't plan to launch its new Libra cryptocurrency and a complementary digital wallet until 2020. But that hasn't stopped some startups from throwing their hats in the ring early. 

On Sunday, Israeli developer ZenGo said a cryptocurrency wallet it rolled out earlier this year will begin supporting Libra. Since Facebook and its 27 partners haven't launched the cryptocurrency, ZenGo is letting users store a test version. The test Libra funds, unlike the version that's coming, don't have any real monetary value.


ZenGo is letting users experiment with a test version of a new cryptocurrency, called Libra, that's expected to launch in 2020. 


"Getting to know it early might spark some new ideas and give you a head start for when Libra becomes truly operational," ZenGo said in a blog post. You can experiment with Libra by going to your account tab in the ZenGo app, which is currently available for iPhone users. The wallet also lets you buy Bitcoin, Ethereum and Binance Coin with your credit card or Apple Pay. 

Since Facebook announced Libra, the company has faced pushback from US lawmakers who are concerned that the cryptocurrency will be abused by criminals and negatively impact the US dollar. Facebook's blockchain boss, David Marcus, said in a congressional hearing last month that the social network wouldn't launch Libra until the company has addressed all concerns, but he stopped short of agreeing to a moratorium. 

Facebook took the wraps off Libra in June. Unlike many other cryptocurrencies, Libra will be pegged to a basket of assets that anchor its value, so that value won't swing wildly. The Libra Association that'll manage the currency hasn't said what those assets will be, but it suggested they'd include major global currencies, like the dollar and the euro. The proposed crypto has been met with a chilly response from regulators and politicians around the world.

ZenGo will compete with a digital wallet called Calibra that Facebook plans to introduce in 2020. The social network, though, has the advantage of already having 2.4 billion monthly active users. You'll be able to download the Calibra app onto your iPhone or Android device, or add the wallet into the messaging apps Messenger or WhatsApp once it's released. The Calibra wallet will also work with other wallets that accept Libra. Users need to verify their identity by uploading an ID such as a driver's license.

ZenGo, which plans to release an app for Android phones, said that users can create their digital wallet by downloading the app and providing their email. You also don't need a private key, and ZenGo users scan their face to backup their wallet. ZenGo said it's a "noncustodial" wallet for Libra, which means you have full control over your funds instead of having to rely on a third-party.