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Facebook to launch digital currency in 2020

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Written by: Emma Lunn
18/06/2019
Facebook will launch financial services subsidiary Calibra and digital currency Libra next year.

The announcement from the social media giant follows months of speculation. Calibra will be a new Facebook subsidiary whose goal is to provide financial services that will let people access and participate in the Libra network.

The first product Calibra will introduce is a digital wallet for Libra, a new global currency powered by blockchain technology. Facebook described Libra as “a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people” and claimed it will “transform the global economy”.

Facebook said Calibra will address the challenges posed by financial exclusion, with almost half of adults worldwide not having a bank account and about 70 per cent of small businesses in developing countries lacking access to credit.

The Calibra wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app. Calibra will allow Libra to be sent to almost anyone with a smartphone, quickly and at low to no cost. Facebook said it plans to offer additional services for people and businesses, such as paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code, or using public transport without needing to carry cash or a ticket.

Calibra will have strong protections in place to keep users’ money and information safe, and use the same verification and anti-fraud processes as banks and credit cards. It will also have automated systems to proactively monitor activity to detect and prevent fraudulent behaviour.

Facebook added that Calibra will offer live support if users lose their phone or password, while customers will be refunded if someone fraudulently gains access to their account and Libra is lost as a result.

Aside from limited cases, Calibra will not share account information or financial data with Facebook or any third party without customer consent. Facebook said this means Calibra customers’ account information and financial data will not be used for ad targeting on the Facebook family of products.

People who want to know when Calibra is available can sign up at https://calibra.com/

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