Facebook to unveil new cryptocurrency

Facebook will outline the details of the cryptocurrency on Tuesday. (File/AFP)
Updated 17 June 2019

Facebook to unveil new cryptocurrency

  • Companies and venture capitalists will invest around $10m each in the new cryptocurrency
  • Facebook faced a series issues regarding privacy abuses and fake news

LONDON: Facebook is set Tuesday to unveil a bid to bring cryptocurrency payments into the mainstream, reportedly with the endorsement of governments and financial giants.
The world’s biggest social network is expected to outline details of a virtual currency launching next year that it hopes will avoid the rollercoaster volatility of “blockchain” technologies such as bitcoin.
Facebook is setting up a consortium called “Libra” which, according to the Wall Street Journal, has been joined by more than a dozen companies including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Uber.
The companies along with venture capitalists and telecommunications firms will reportedly invest around $10 million each into the consortium.
Facebook has been trying to ward off hostile regulatory scrutiny after a series of privacy abuses and the spread of fake news.
The consortium will be managed externally and will seek to build trust among consumers by pegging the virtual coin to a basket of currencies including the dollar and euro, the Journal said.
Facebook has already sought blessings from the US Treasury and the Bank of England, the BBC reported last month.
Regulators have been reticent about cryptocurrencies, not only due to potential abuse by criminals but the wild swings in their value harming consumers.
With more than two billion users across its platforms, which include WhatsApp and Instagram, Facebook could have the clout to bring cryptocurrency out of the fringes and emulate the likes of WeChat in China, where the US site is banned.
WeChat allows its users to chat, shop and play games without leaving its platform, generating more revenue by offering a one-stop portal.
Buffeted by the privacy storms, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has promised a new direction for Facebook built around smaller groups, private messaging and payments.
But it will need to overcome questions of trust and privacy, not least over how financial data will be stored. Some analysts are betting that the heavyweight Libra consortium will help to do that.
Facebook’s crypto initiative could facilitate shopping, applications and gaming, and would leverage its broad user base in Asia, RBC analyst Mark Mahaney said in a research note last week.
It “may prove to be one of the most important initiatives in the history of the company to unlock new engagement and revenue streams,” he wrote.


Hungry Davos attendees to sample Saudi delicacies at Misk cafe

Updated 20 January 2020

Hungry Davos attendees to sample Saudi delicacies at Misk cafe

  • The Saudi Café – operated by a Saudi chef, will introduce a piece of Saudi culture to the WEF
  • Misk also plans to release research at Davos

LONDON: Davos delegates will get to sample a taste of Saudi Arabia at a cafe in the event venue in Switzerland this week.
It is one of a series of initiatives organized by the Misk Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic foundation established by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It aims to empower Saudi youth to become active participants in the Kingdom’s future economy.
“The Saudi Café – operated by a Saudi chef, will introduce a piece of Saudi culture to the WEF,” the Misk Global Foundation said in a statement on the eve of the gathering.
Some 3,000 leaders from the worlds of business, public policy, culture and technology are due to arrive in the Alpine town of Davos for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which begins on Tuesday.
Positioned at Promenade 80 and open daily to all, the Saudi Café will also offer networking and working spaces alongside coffee and traditional Saudi delicacies.
Misk also plans to release research at Davos highlighting how some of the biggest challenges facing attendees can be addressed by youth-led solutions.