WhatsApp cryptocurrency

Facebook is reportedly working on a cryptocurrency to allow WhatsApp users to transfer money.

Revealed by Bloomberg, the exact details are yet to be revealed, but sources claim it will be a stablecoin, pegged to the value of a dollar. The technology will initially focus on sending remittance payments in India.

As previously reported by Block Explorer, Facebook has been on a hiring spree lately, adding to its 30+ blockchain team, lead by former Coinbase board member David Marcus.

Facebook Stablecoin

Don’t expect the Facebook coin to launch anytime soon. The team has some huge hurdles to overcome first. Specifically, Facebook will need to develop a custody solution in order to safely store the coins.

If Facebook is working on a stablecoin, they will also need a reserve of fiat currency to back the value. Other stablecoins, like Tether, have come under fire for failing to prove their true dollar backing.

India Remittance Payments: A Multi-Billion Dollar Market

Remittance payments (sending expatriate funds back to the country of origin) is big business in India. The country tops the global leaderboard in remittance payments, with almost $69 billion received in 2017 alone. Total global remittance payments are expected to grow 3.4% this year.

Facebook can plug into more than 200 million WhatsApp users in India, allowing them to quickly and easily send and receive payments.

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facebook blockchain

Facebook is on a blockchain hiring spree, advertising five new roles in its fledgling blockchain department. The roles span data science, software engineering, and product marketing, although it’s not yet clear exactly what Mark Zuckerberg and co. are building.  

The new members will join at least 32 existing blockchain employees, led by former PayPal president David Marcus. The current roles point to a wide scope in the department, including engineering, legal, risk and operations, marketing, and strategy.

Crypto news outlet The Block suggests, however, that Facebook’s newest advert for a “product marketing” role is most illuminating, hinting that Facebook is close to rolling out a real product.

The job advert itself reveals as much, listing the following responsibility:

“Frame our go-to-market to drive product adoption”

So what are they building? Earlier this year a spokesperson told Tech Crunch that “We are still in the very early stages and we are considering a number of different applications for the blockchain. But we don’t have anything else to share at this time.”

Early speculations hint at a Facebook crypto wallet or peer-to-peer money exchange and micropayments. A Venmo-esque tool to exchange money between friends would seem like a strong prospect for Facebook given its social platform.

For now, the Facebook job application remains vague, saying only that they are “exploring the opportunity the blockchain will bring.”

Source: The Block

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Electrum Publishes Proof “Electrum Pro” is Bitcoin Stealing Malware
Via Twitter yesterday, Electrum promised to publish proof that “Electrum Pro” is bitcoin stealing malware. This morning they published their proof on Github. Members of the community are advising if you used this software to move your coins now. BlockExplorer writer Armin Davis independently verified these claims.

ICO Competition With The Highest Prize Ever
This year ICO Engine is hosting an ICO Race 7 June, 2018 in Palazzo dei Congressi, Lugano. “Each ICO will have a 10-minute pitch in front of a qualified panel of judges who will make their evaluation based on: Solution of the problem, Business and Token sale model, Token Sale terms, Team, Pitch.” They go on to say, “ICOs will be ranked based on the evaluation given by the judges. Prizes are intended as purchase of the company’s tokens at the private sale price.” ICOs can register to be a part of the competition here.

Microsoft is Serious About Blockchain With Major Announcements and PRs
Despite the recent negative statements made by Bill Gates about Bitcoin, Microsoft’s interest in blockchain has been growing. Take this Microsoft Azure press release for example, “Simplifying blockchain app development with Azure Blockchain Workbench“. Microsoft’s Azure team is also now participating in NY Blockchain Week, according to WeTalkCoins.com.

Facebook’s New Blockchain Team Will Be Led by Coinbase Board Member David Marcus
Social media conglomerate Facebook has announced that it is establishing a new blockchain research team, according to BlockExplorer’s David Murray, and it will be led by a member of the Coinbase board of directors: David Marcus.

Image courtesy of Carty Sewill, http://cartyisme.com/

facebook

Social media conglomerate Facebook has announced that it is establishing a new blockchain research team, and it will be led by a member of the Coinbase board of directors: David Marcus.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced a major overhaul of its executive leadership structure. As part of that reshuffle, David Marcus — the head of Facebook’s Messenger division — will lead a newly-created team that will explore how the company can integrate blockchain technology into its product suite.

“After nearly four unbelievably rewarding years leading Messenger, I have decided it was time for me to take on a new challenge, “Marcus wrote in a Facebook post. “I’m setting up a small group to explore how to best leverage Blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch.”

Neither Marcus nor the company has provided any more details on the project, but with him at the helm the possibilities are staggering.

Unlike many corporate executives who fall into the “blockchain not bitcoin” crowd, Marcus is a sitting board member of Coinbase, perhaps the most well-known company in the cryptocurrency industry.

When he joined the Coinbase board last December, he said that he had been fascinated by cryptocurrencies since 2012 and is “convinced that what the company is working on has the potential to materially change the lives of people around the world.”

It would be overly-optimistic to suggest that placing Marcus at the head of Facebook’s blockchain project means that the social media giant will add support for cryptocurrency, but the fact that the initiative will be led by a voice friendly to cryptocurrency does mean that the chance that Facebook dips its toe into cryptocurrencies is greater than zero.

Such a move would not be unprecedented. Kik, which is much smaller than Facebook but still boasts several million active users, is developing its own cryptocurrency.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Twitter — Jack Dorsey — is an outspoken bitcoin bull, though the social media platform has yet to add native support for cryptocurrencies (Square, Dorsey’s digital payments business, recently added bitcoin trading to one of its apps).

In any case, the venture also serves as a logical conclusion of recent comments from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who in January wrote in his annual “personal challenge” post that he intended to “go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects” of computing “counter-trends” such as cryptocurrency and encryption in 2018.

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facebook

Infamous political consulting group Cambridge Analytica had planned to hold an initial coin offering (ICO) before it became tangled up in Facebook’s data sharing scandal.

According to Reuters, the British data analytics firm had quietly approached an ICO advisory service with preliminary questions about holding a token sale, through which it hoped to gain $30 million.

The report states that it is unclear whether the company plans to follow through with the ICO, but a spokesperson did confirm that Cambridge Analytica — in a humorous twist — is developing a blockchain-based platform to help individuals “reclaim their data from corporate entities.”

“Prior to the Facebook controversy, we were developing a suite of technologies to help individuals reclaim their personal data from corporate entities and to have full transparency and control over how their personal data are used,” a Cambridge Analytica spokesman told the publication. “We were exploring multiple options for people to manage and monetise their personal data, including blockchain technology.”

That’s more than a little ironic. The data analytics firm, which was hired by US President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, reportedly gained access to the personal data of as many as 87 million Facebook users as a result of improper data sharing practices on the part of the social media giant.

A New York Times report divers further into the nature of Cambridge Analytica’s foray into the cryptocurrency space, where it used its “psychographic profiles” of consumers to conduct targeted advertising campaigns for ICOs and other blockchain companies.

Investors who attended one Cambridge Analytica pitch deck said that the company also floated paying Mexican voters cryptocurrencies in exchange for filling out surveys, data from which would then be sold to Mexican political candidates and used to create ad campaigns.

Notably, Brittany Kaiser, who led Cambridge Analytica’s ICO-focused work, left the company in February and has been extremely critical of it in the two months since her exit.

Featured Image from Pixabay