Facebook Aims at New Currency

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is aiming to keep things fresh, by unveiling an ambitious plan to create a new digital currency and financial system to transform the way money moves around the world, and not just on its own apps.

The social media giant is leading a consortium to create an open-source digital currency called Libra, set to launch in the first half of next year.

The goal is for developers to create services for consumers to send money around the world easily and for free — with the same convenience as sending a photo or a message.

The Libra currency will not be run by Facebook, but rather by a non-profit association supported by a range of companies and organizations.

But Facebook does have a plan to profit from it with a new subsidiary, Calibra, which is building a digital wallet of the same name for storing and exchanging the currency.

The financial information from your digital wallet will not be used for ad targeting on Facebook’s platforms because the two divisions will be kept totally separate.

According to David Marcus, who heads the Calibra division, “We’ve seen internet change the game for everything that could be digitized, except for money.

"Now, anyone with a cheap smartphone has access to all the info they want in the world for free with a basic data plan. Why doesn’t money work the same way?"

The announcement comes after Facebook has faced a slew of privacy issues, raising real questions about whether people will trust the social platform with their financial information.

Shares gained $3.93, or 2.1%, to $192.94 first thing Tuesday morning.