Facebook's SECRET plan for crypto? They say they're building a stablecoin - but a $1 BILLION budget and 60+ person team says there's more...

No comments
Facebook's cryptocurrency

So far, the reports from Bloomberg and The New York Times, which have been the sources for this story say that Facebook's end goal is a stablecoin (a token always worth $1 each) for use in the WhatsApp messenger - nothing beyond this has been suggested.

WhatsApp is a great use-case for a stablecoin, with 1.5 billion active users per month around the world, you can imagine the number of potential transactions all of these users would generate.

Today we learned a bit more, according to Nathaniel Popper, the NY Times reporter who wrote the original story - we hear that Facebook is out to raise $1 billion from venture capitalists to fund their cryptocurrency project.

"Update on Facebook's cryptocurrency: Sources tell me that Facebook is now looking to get VC firms to invest in the Facebook cryptocurrency project we reported on earlier this year. I hear they are targeting big sums -- as much as $1b." he said in a tweet.

Here's what we know so far:

Facebook hired former PayPal President David Marcus in 2014, first as head of their Messenger app, now running a whole new department under the title of "Director of Engineering, Blockchain.”

Facebook's blockchain department has 40+ employees already.

There are 22 job listings right now as Facebook is hiring even more people for their blockchain department.

Facebook is seeking $1 billion from VCs to fund their cryptocurrency project.

Adding a stablecoin to WhatsApp is not a project that takes 60+ people in a whole new department or a billion dollar budget. Regardless, Facebook doesn't need investors to cover a $1 billion expense.

There's definitely something more here - but what?

What everyone is in agreement on is that money is not Facebook's reason for turning to outside investors. Popper, the NYT reporter's theory is:

"Given that one of the big allures of blockchain projects is the decentralization, getting outside investors could help Facebook present the project as more decentralized and less controlled by Facebook."

But that falls short of explaining things. Everything from the budget to the number of employees tells us that there's more in the works than just adding a blockchain-backed 'send money' feature to a messaging app.

I can't imagine people seeing Facebook's coin as 'more decentralized' upon hearing it was 'created by Facebook and venture capital firms' instead of just Facebook.

That will be decided when we get a look at the blockchain, and nothing else.  If it's actually decentralized, it will be treated as such.  If it isn't, hearing that several institutions are behind it wouldn't stop people from calling it centralized.

However, Popper is right that Facebook doesn't need to turn to outside investors when they need a billion dollars.  For perspective, Facebook paid $19 billion when they acquired WhatsApp.

My best guess - Facebook plans on acquiring companies in the cryptocurrency space.

It's the only thing I could think of where all of this makes sense. They're putting together a group of investors - because this is just the first billion of many.

They're making sure they have the ability to offer cryptocurrency companies billions in buyouts and have quick access to the funding needed to do it, all without risking profits from their main social networking business.

As someone in the Silicon Valley tech world, this lines up perfectly with the general sentiment I hear from people here.  More often than not, you'll get an answer like "It has some huge potential, but it's hard to say what will happen in the future" if you ask someone's opinion on the future of cryptocurrency.

A plan to enter the cryptocurrency space, still able to use their successful tactic of buying companies instead of building products from scratch - while at the same time, spreading the risk by bringing in investors.

This is exactly what I would expect from a company that sees cryptocurrency's potential, so entering the space seems like a smart move - but at the same time, they're not convinced enough to do it all with their own money.

Have another theory? We'd love to hear it - tweet us @GlobalCryptoDev!

Author: Ross Davis
E-Mail: Ross@GlobalCryptoPress.com Twitter:@RossFM
San Francisco News Desk

No comments