Facebook's Libra Cryptocurrency Could Launch in January: Report

Facebook is preparing to launch its digital currency as early as January in a limited format, according to the Financial Times.
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Facebook  (FB) - Get Report may launch its digital currency Libra in January with a single stablecoin, according to a report in the Financial Times.

The Libra Association is planning to initially launch a single coin backed one-for-one by the dollar, as reported by the FT. This would be followed at a later stage by other coins backed by other currencies, as well as a digital composite of all of its coins.

Libra's launch date will depend on approval from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) which could come in January. Finma and the Libra Association declined to comment on Libra's application to the FT. 

In April, Facebook had said it was moving ahead with Libra but in a significantly scaled back manner in a bid to appease wary regulators. In place of a digital coin backed by a basket of currencies, as was originally proposed, Libra will consist of multiple "stablecoins" backed by individual currencies such as the dollar or euro. 

“We’re retaining the construct of a multi-currency Libra, but it’s fundamentally changed, streamlined and simplified relative to the original one," Christian Catalini, head economist at Calibra, Facebook's digital wallet that will use Libra, told Reuters in April. 

In October, the G7 issued a statement that showed that financial leaders of the world’s seven biggest economies oppose the launch of Facebook’s Libra stablecoin until it is properly regulated.

Facebook also launched a digital payments system called Facebook Pay last year. Describing the distinction between that and Libra, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said Libra would be "more efficient, especially for things like transferring money across borders." 

The coronavirus pandemic, which is expected to significantly damage digital ad revenue, highlights Facebook's efforts to develop payment and commerce opportunities across its apps.

Shares of Facebook were up 0.89% to $278.03 at last check.

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