Facebook announces Calibra crypto-currency wallet, wants to create universal currency with Libra
In 2020, Facebook will bring to market a new e-wallet called Calibra that will let Facebook and WhatsApp users transfer money as well as make payments using Libra, a Facebook-backed crypto-currency. The announcement for Calibra was made on Tuesday by Facebook. The company said, "from the beginning, Calibra will let you send Libra to almost anyone with a smartphone, as easily and instantly as you might send a text message and at low to no cost."
"And, in time, we hope to offer additional services for people and businesses, like paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass," said a Facebook spokesperson.
For Facebook, which has nearly 2 billion active users across its products like Facebook website, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, the Calibra represents an opportunity to create a single universal currency.
"Today we're sharing plans for Calibra, a newly formed 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. The wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app and we expect to launch in 2020," said the Facebook spokesperson.
So, how will Calibra work? From what Facebook has shared right now it seems that Calibra users will be able to buy, or on the fly able to access, Libra crypto-currency and then will be able to use this currency to either exchange money or make payments.
Facebook says that Libra Association has 28 founding members includes Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Uber, Lyft, Coinbase and all of them are on board with the Calibra announcement.
Facebook also said that it will not track the Calibra usage to serve advertisements to consumers. The company notes that "Aside from limited cases, Calibra will not share account information or financial data with Facebook or any third party without customer consent. This means Calibra customers' account information and financial data will not be used to improve ad targeting on the Facebook family of products."
However, it is important to note that Facebook had earlier also promised that it would not use WhatsApp data for ad tracking or serve ads in WhatsApp but in the last one year the company has reportedly made moves to integrate WhatsApp data with Facebook user data and has readied plans to serve ads through WhatsApp Status feature.
Facebook said that Calibra will be available to consumers in 2020, although for now there is no specific date. In India, the company may run into some hurdles because RBI here doesn't look at crypto-currencies too favourably. "Our goal is to make Calibra available to everyone, anywhere in the world. We are working to bring Calibra to as many countries as possible, as soon as we can," said the Facebook spokesperson.