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Facebook's reportedly recruiting for a cryptocurrency-based payments service

It's looking to financial firms and online merchants for support, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp : Illustration
Facebook is apparently working towards launching a cryptocurrency-based payments system.
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Facebook is gathering support for its cryptocurrency-based payments service, a report said.

The social network talked to Visa, MasterCard and other financial and e-commerce companies about backing the endeavor codenamed Project Libra, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed sources.

Back in December, a report suggested that Facebook is working on a US dollar-linked digital currency that'll let people transfer money on its WhatsApp messaging service. We've since heard that it's got at least 50 people working on it.

Thursday's report noted that the company is apparently seeking total investments of about $1 billion to underpin the currency's value and protect it from the price surges and dips suffered by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It's also working on getting e-commerce companies and apps to accept the currency.

Facebook didn't comment directly on the report, but noted via email that it's  "exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology."

"This new small team is exploring many different applications," a spokesperson wrote.

First published at 4:35 a.m. PT.
Updated at 5:07 a.m. PT: Adds more detail, Facebook comment.