Libra & Calibra – Facebook’s new cryptocurrency and digital wallet

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Last week reports suggested Facebook would be unveiling a new cryptocurrency and digital wallet, as the social media platform looked to diversify its range of offerings. Now we finally know what the new services are, with Facebook officially revealing Libra and Calibra, teasing what’s to come ahead of a 2020 release.

Libra is the new cryptocurrency that Facebook is planning to launch, with the likes of Mastercard, Visa, PayPal and vast array of partners (pictured below) already pledging their support for the digital currency. This, as the company is terming, is the Libra Network and will be blockchain-based in order to facilitate transactions, the company explains.

Unlike the a crytocurrency such as Bitcoin, Facebook is aiming to remove the speculative aspect from Libra, as The Verge notes, with it intended for use for both online and offline payments, the latter likely happening a bit further down the line.

For now the intention for Libra is to be used in developing countries to help those who do not have access to traditional banking services. The ultimate goal, according to Facebook executives, is to have a global mainstream currency that operates independently from borders, but again that’s still way down the line.

“Libra is a global, digitally native, reserve-backed cryptocurrency built on the foundation of blockchain technology. People will be able to send, receive, spend, and secure their money, enabling a more inclusive global financial system,” explains the Libra website about its vision.

Now for the digital wallet that will work with Libra, which is the aforementioned Calibra.

It too will be blockchain-powered, and when it launches will be available via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and a standalone app. Said launch is scheduled to happen sometime next year, but Facebook is still staying mum on a precise date, likely as it still dots the I’s and crosses the T’s on any regulatory requirements.

“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,” Facebook noted in a press release about Calibra.

The header image above serves as the possible user interface that the platform will look like, but it’s unclear if it will be the final iteration.

What Facebook is stating, however, is the importance that security will play in Calibra, aiming to give future customers peace of mind in that regard.

“We’ll be using all the same verification and anti-fraud processes that banks and credit cards use, and we’ll have automated systems that will proactively monitor activity to detect and prevent fraudulent behavior,” the firm explains.

This is only an early glimpse at both Libra and Calibra, so all excitement and expectations need to be tempered, but if done correctly, this could very well be one of Facebook’s most important solutions to date.

“We’re still early in the process of developing Calibra. Along the way we’ll be consulting with a wide range of experts to make sure we can deliver a product that is safe, private and easy to use for everyone,” concluded the company’s press release.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Editor of Hypertext. Covers smartphones, IoT, 5G, cloud computing and a few things in between. Also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games when not taking the hatchet to stories.