Facebook Gets an Upgrade While It Eyes 2021 Crypto Launch

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Facebook (FB) - Get Report on Tuesday received a one-year price target upgrade from Guggenheim on expectations the social media network will benefit from a number of growth tailwinds, particularly e-commerce.

The social-media giant also hinted that its efforts to launch a cryptocurrency and digital wallet could come to fruition as soon as next year.

In a research note to clients, Guggenheim analyst Michael Morris raised his price target to $365 from $340 and held his buy rating on the stock, citing “growing on-platform commerce activity and messaging opportunities,” which together point to potentially stronger-than-forecast fourth-quarter ad revenue.

The price-target upgrade came as Facebook eyes a 2021 debut of its own cryptocurrency, dubbed Diem, as well as a digital wallet called Novi that could drive millions of its users away from traditional cash.

Originally called Libra, Facebook’s cryptocurrency ambitions have received scathing criticism from regulators and even central bankers, forcing the company to recalibrate the effort and also roll out a rebrand.

Designed to be managed by a non-profit consortium called the Libra Association, the plan was to launch a wallet called Calibra that would allow users to send Libra cryptocurrency coins to each other. A Libra coin was supposed to be backed by a basket of currencies.

However, concerns from regulators including the impact Libra could have on financial stability to issues over privacy and money laundering in April prompted the consortium to shift gears and only offer stable coins backed by just one nation’s currency.

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