Facebook unveiled details of its latest financial services play, a mobile wallet system designed to slash the cost of international remittance by using its cryptocurrency rather than traditional money transfers.
The wallet will be developed by subsidiary Calibra and is being promoted as a solution to issues hampering financial inclusion.
Launch of the wallet and associated cryptocurrency Libra is slated for 2020. Calibra wallets will be available as an add-on to Facebook’s messenger and WhatsApp platforms or as a standalone app.
Despite being marketed as helping the financially excluded it will initially only be available on smartphones.
In a statement, Facebook said from launch “almost anyone with a smartphone” would be able to transfer the currency with the same ease as sending a text message. The service will be provided at “low or no cost”.
While initially only a transfer tool, the company plans to extend functionality to paying bills, making purchases at physical retailers and small business use cases.
As part of its announcement Facebook emphasised “strong protections” and anti-fraud measures it plans to put into place to protect users and safeguard privacy.
Calibra relies on the transfer of cryptocurrency Libra rather than traditional currency. Libra was devised by Facebook, but will be run by a network of partners operating under moniker The Libra Association. Members include Vodafone, Iliad, Uber, eBay, Mastercard and Visa.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back