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Facebook's cryptocurrency may debut this month

Workers might even have the choice of being paid in digital cash.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
June 5, 2019
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AP Photo/Richard Drew

Facebook's long-rumored cryptocurrency may be on the cusp of launching, and with a few twists to boot. The Information sources say the digital money is expected to premiere later in June. The social network is reportedly planning a big push that would include bonuses for merchants that adopt it, not to mention real-world kiosks where you could exchange conventional cash. Employees in the project would even have the option of being paid in the currency.

And in case you're wondering: yes, Facebook would be fully aware of the public's possible reluctance to trust Facebook with their finances. While the blockchain would supposedly be "far more centralized" than the likes of bitcoin with 100 or fewer nodes in its payment network, the company would tap outside firms to help run the system. It would charge them licensing fees ($10 million per partner) and roll that into backing the currency with traditional money to keep it stable. You might not experience the roller coaster rides of competing formats.

Facebook has already declined to comment on the rumor. If it's true, though the details suggest Facebook is betting big on the technology. To some extent, it has to. On top of the need to establish trust, this would be a "borderless" payment system that could help offset volatility in some official currencies. A smooth launch might be vital to ensuring healthy uptake, not to mention avoiding trouble with regulators who are already skittish about crypto.

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