Facebook Inc. (FB - Get Report) is set to unveil its own cryptocurrency, according to multiple media reports, in a move that would allow its 2.4 billion users to make online payments across the social media group's platforms.
Facebook's GlobalCoin, which is scheduled to launch net year, would give users the ability to concert their local currency into a Facebook-useable digital coin that could be used for payments or transfers, according to reports. The structure could be similar to the digital currency established earlier this year by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM - Get Report) , which were designed to develop the bank's payments business over blockchain technology.
"Advertising is going to be the way that the revenue comes in for the foreseeable future, but what we expect is as we build out more commerce-related features around shopping, and Instagram and Marketplace and Facebook ... I think what we're going this is we're going to build more tools for people to buy things directly through the platform," CEO Mark Zuckerberg told investors last month following the company's second quarter earnings. "Over the long-term, if Payments becomes a really important part of what we do, we can - we'll have some options and choices about how we choose to - how to have the revenue flow to us in the future."
Facebook shares were marked 0.75% higher in pre-market trading Friday, indicating an opening bell price of $183.22 each, a move that would take its year-to-date gain to around 40%.
Bitcoin prices have also surged this year, rising more than 116% since the start of the year to just over $8,000 per unit on the Coinbase exchange.
The BBC reported that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has met with Bank of England Governor Mark Carney -- a noted Bitcoin critic -- and sought advice from officials at the U.S. Treasury Department.
The Financial Times, meanwhile, said Zuckerberg has also met with Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the twin brothers who run the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange and once sued the Facebook founder amid accusations he stole their idea while students at Harvard University to build the iconic social media network that is now worth more than $500 billion.