If Facebook joined the blockchain bandwagon, it would be the largest company to do so. With recent reports alleging the social media company is inching toward its own stablecoin, it's doing exactly just that.
The move should perhaps come as no surprise. Facebook did create its own blockchain division back in May, so speculation of a proprietary cryptocurrency was on analysts' minds as early as the first half of this year. Operations in that division have so far been unclear, however. Until now.
According to Bloomberg, the division is currently working on a stablecoin that "let[s] users transfer money on its WhatsApp messaging app, focusing first on the remittances market in India."
Asked for more information, Facebook offered a somewhat vague response.
"Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don't have anything further to share."
Facebook Developing Its Own Cryptocurrency
Facebook would be the largest company to pursue a consumer blockchain service. Facebook alone reaches more than 2.2 billion people. That's on top of 1.5 billion on WhatsApp, 1.3 billion on Messenger, and a billion more on Instagram, as TechCrunch notes.
As mentioned earlier, the move doesn't come as a surprise. Apart from creating a blockchain division, Facebook also hired former PayPal president David Marcus to run its Messenger app way back in 2014, and as such, there's been much speculation on whether Facebook is planning to make a move in the financial services sector.
Then, in May, Marcus took charge of the blockchain division. Facebook has been on a hiring spree since then, Bloomberg notes, and now employs about 40 people in the segment.
WhatsApp, in particular, is extremely popular in India, with over 200 million users. India also leads the world in terms of remittances, having received a total of $69 billion in 2017, according to the World Bank.
In addition, this past year has been a boon for the growth of cryptocurrency projects involving stablecoin. There were 120 ventures chasing this pursuit at one point. Stablecoin is a concept for a digital coin that's easily shared across services and more stable than other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
With its massive user base, Facebook stands to find success in this venture unlike other stablecoin projects that are either mired in controversy — Tether — or have failed entirely — Basis. Time, however, will tell.