117.68 +0.54 (0.46%)
After hours: 7:44PM EDT
|Bid||116.52 x 800|
|Ask||117.18 x 1800|
|Day's Range||115.22 - 117.34|
|52 Week Range||74.66 - 118.65|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.95|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||63.35|
|Earnings Date||Jul 23, 2019 - Jul 29, 2019|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||116.55|
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said his firm has “more to gain than anybody” from the booming trend of non-cash transactions.
Facebook’s ambitious cryptocurrency project ‘Calibra’ comes as the social media behemoth continues to face scrutiny about data privacy.
Square stock is down roughly 3.5% over the last three months as investors decide what's next for the once high-flying financial tech giant.
The Senate Banking committee on Wednesday set July 16 as the date to hold a hearing centered on Facebook Inc.'s Libra coin, an ambitious cryptocurrency venture led by the social-media giant that is intended as a frictionless way to to make payments over the internet using blockchain technology. The hearing titled "Examining Facebook's Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations," comes after a number of Congressional lawmakers a day ago demanded that Facebook , which is leading the digital-payments venture, delay its attempt to roll out the cryptocurrency by the second half of 2020 as planned, while legislators review possible risks to consumers. House Financial Services Committee head Maxine Waters on Tuesday said Facebook "is continuing its unchecked expansion and extending its reach into the lives of its users." The social-media outfit is wrestling with privacy concerns following its Cambridge Analytica scandal. On Tuesday, Facebook said: "We look forward to responding to lawmakers' questions as this process moves forward." Facebook has been meeting with regulators about its cryptocurrency plans, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported that Facebook officials have met with Securities and Exchange Commission as its prepares to kick off Libra Coin with more than two dozen partners, including payment company PayPal Inc. [sL PYPL], ride-hailing apps Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. , as well as credit card company Mastercard Inc. among many others. Many view this crypto as a powerful way for Facebook to tap into its 2.5 billion monthly active users. Libra coin won't be owned by Facebook and will be governed by a consortium of qualified global partners, with the intention of creating an independent payment system that has the benefits of the immutable ledger technology behind cryptos but none of the price vagaries of bitcoin because the digital asset will be pegged to a basket of fiat currencies like the dollar and euro , for example. Facebook's shares finished 0.5% lower on Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average , the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite Index all finished in the session in positive territory.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc.’s bid to create a new cryptocurrency has the potential to some day disrupt the global money system, analysts say. That’s if the new stablecoin, called Libra, can gain enough traction. In the meantime, they say, the plan probably means little for existing payments companies, like Mastercard Inc., Visa Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc. -- which are all partners with Facebook.Shares of Mastercard, Visa and PayPal were mixed in mid-day Wednesday trading, ahead of the conclusion of the latest Federal Reserve meeting. Facebook was down as much as 2.1%.Here’s a sample of the latest commentary about the new cryptocurrency:Cowen, George Mihalos, Jaret Seiberg“If successful – if – it could be very disruptive to the legacy interchange model developed by the networks and banks,” Cowen analysts wrote in a note. Libra may also be “price-eroding to processors,” and serve as a “shot across the bow to money remittance firms.”Their expectations aren’t all bad for existing financial firms. Libra offers potential to bring “new money” into the digital payments ecosystem, they said, which would add to the value stored in digital wallets, like PayPal’s. That may lead to greater account adoption and transaction growth, though costs will probably come under pressure, as “Libra will in many ways be akin to using cash.”They also warned that politics pose a risk to Facebook, with Congress likely to hold hearings in the next few months. “Washington has the power to end Libra and any other cryptocurrency,” they said, by denying access to the banking system, making converting the currency to cash impossible. Congress may also adopt legislation that imposes onerous anti-money laundering and public audit requirements.MoffettNathanson, Lisa EllisThe announcement may be “most important for the cryptocurrency world,” and less so for payments companies, Ellis wrote in a note after discussing the plan with Visa, Mastercard and PayPal. “The cryptocurrency ecosystem may finally have a crypto-based system that – in design, at least – meets the major criteria required to make it functional for payments.”Libra has passed Visa, Mastercard and PayPal’s litmus tests, she said. They “see enough potential in the system to have raised their hands to participate – the first significant endorsement of the viability of cryptocurrencies from the incumbent payment ecosystem.”Citi, Ronit GhoseLibra “could be a big thing,” as the “support of Facebook and other internationally active partners will provide at minimum, a lot of public exposure to stablecoins and specifically to the Libra project.”Citi questions how regulators will respond to Libra.“For instance, Japan and Singapore consider coins pegged to a legal fiat as e-money,” while China, India and Indonesia ban dealing in virtual currencies, and Libra might fall under the SEC’s purview in the U.S. “The creation of ‘private money,’ even if fiat-linked, will raise a lot of political and regulatory debate.”Morgan Stanley, Brian Nowak, Betsy Graseck, James FaucetteMorgan Stanley analysts see little threat Libra will disrupt current global payment networks, noting Visa and Mastercard have “significant scale advantage, mature fraud detection capabilities and low cost structure.”They ask whether facilitating cross-border payments -- the only thing that’s not already present in today’s real-time banking system -- will be enough to differentiate Libra from other services, including Zelle and PayPal’s Venmo. They note that JPMorgan’s Interbank Information Network (IIN) is a blockchain that currently offers anti-money laundering and know-your-client (AML/KYC) services, with 259 banks and payments as a use case.KBW, Sanjay SakhraniThe initiative isn’t an immediate threat to payments companies, Sakhrani wrote in a note. “While the use case appears compelling for the underserved, adoption at a much broader scale will be required for Libra to emerge as a viable alternative to existing payment ecosystems.”Libra seems different than other cryptocurrencies, as it solves at least some issues, including volatility in value. Also, sponsorship from a large platform like Facebook may “help with the problem of adoption, although we believe that barriers to scale are likely still high, particularly in regions where a well-functioning payments ecosystem exists.”Wolfe Research, Darrin PellerThe most likely medium-term impact may be on “P2P, cross-border remittance, and the global underbanked,” Peller wrote in a note. He doesn’t see a near-term use case for Libra disrupting the payment system in “financially developed markets outside of remittance.”He sees opportunities for PayPal to fund Libra wallets/transactions and assist merchant acceptance, but adds that there are “long-term questions on potential pressure around e-commerce fees if Libra gains ubiquity.”To contact the reporter on this story: Felice Maranz in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Catherine Larkin at email@example.com, Steven Fromm, Janet FreundFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
There are many emerging fintech companies in which to invest. Digital payment technology is changing the competitive landscape in fields like e-commerce, payment networks and banking.
Unlike other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum, Libra will be backed by a basket of fiat currencies, such as the U.S. dollar and the Euro, and will be governed by the Libra Association, which includes co-founders Visa Inc (NYSE: V) and Mastercard Inc (NYSE: MA). Given its fiat backing, Credit Suisse analyst Moshe Orenbuch said Libra should be relatively stable compared to popular cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
It isn’t easy leading a major company in Silicon Valley, where the pressure to compete is intense, for both disruptive products and talent. Still, a number of Silicon Valley CEOs again rose to the top of this year’s list of top CEOs, as ranked by anonymous employee review site Glassdoor.
Square stock once had a great run. But now the controversial fintech is down on its luck. And Wall Street analysts are divided on it. Here's what could make Square stock a buy again.
It’s still early days in the race to become the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nominee, but a few CEOs of S&P 500 companies already have been voting with their wallets.
Square (NYSE:SQ) is one of the dominant names in the fast-growing mobile payments market and while the stock has, at various points, reflected expectations for that rapid growth, Square stock is not an easy money play.Source: Chris Harrison via Flickr (Modified)Square is up more than 28% year-to-date, that performance is unimpressive when measured against a broader basket of fintech stocks. For example, the Global X FinTech ETF (NASDAQ:FINX) is up more than 32.32% this year. Additionally, Square stock resides 29% below its 52-week, putting the shares deep into bear market territory.As of this writing, Square stock is just under $72, indicating that if analysts' are anywhere close to their assessments on the name, most of which are bullish, there could be considerable upside for the shares. The average analyst price target on Square is nearly $83.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips * 5 Stocks to Buy for $20 or Less New Markets, New ChallengesWhen Square first started out, the company's bread and butter was small business owners looking for ways to get paid faster. Think hair stylists, landscapers, pet-oriented businesses and other entrepreneurs with mobile businesses that were processing large amounts of transactions, but at small to medium dollar amounts per swipe.So for Square stock to be attractive over the long-term, the company needs to forge into markets, and those areas are chock full of well-heeled competitors."We contend the limits of these attributes will be tested as it moves into restaurants and other complex verticals," SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Andrew Jeffrey said in a note out in April.Square has built competitive advantages in the market for credit and debit card readers that operate through mobile phones. Ask most investors to name another company that competes in this arena and they may struggle to answer, but getting into more conventional, brick-and-mortar businesses brings opportunity and potential risks for Square stock.Square continues to grow at a very fast rate, with adjusted revenue up 49% year over year," said Morningstar in a recent note. "The business is transitioning as the company builds out more ancillary products, with transaction-based revenue up a relatively modest 26% and subscription and service-based revenue up 97%, excluding acquisitions."The research firm has a $49 fair value estimate on Square stock.Some analysts are more bullish, but investors should query why. Square stock could get a lift from its reward card known as boost, but are 10% discounts at select restaurants and coffee stops enough to move Square stock. Apparently, some on the sell side think the answer is "yes."KeyBanc's Josh Beck "thinks that Square will compound annual revenue growth of about 35% over the next three years and will hit have a 26% margin by 2021. His target price is $100 a share, which represents about 40% upside," reports Barron's. Bottom Line on Square StockMuch of the bull thesis for Square stock revolves around the Cash app, a mobile app that customers use to send money to friends, family, etc. Square's Cash app competes with Venmo, operated by PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL); and Zelle, a money transfer service offered by a slew of major U.S. banks. Analysts are enthusiastic regarding Cash app's prospects.Another area underscoring the risk/reward with Cash app is how Square frame the app. Beyond being a payment transfer option, Square wants customers to think of and use Cash app like a traditional bank.Square is "still working with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation on receiving a banking charter. That would allow Square to expand the types of lending and deposit business it can do without a banking partner," according to Barron's."We believe Cash App--and Cash Card in particular--will drive upside to SQ revenue estimates over time as user engagement increases, and platform growth expands," said Barclays's Ramsey El-Assal in a recent note. "While SQ has remained guarded regarding Cash App user statistics, we believe enough distinct data points have been released to allow us to put together a more complete model of Cash App revenue performance."Still, there are concerns with Cash app, too. Notably, Square is a latecomer to this space, arriving here after Venmo and Zelle, meaning the perhaps the most legitimate opportunity for Cash app to pilfer market share from its rivals is to offer lower fees, meaning lower margins for Square."We continue to believe that Square's relatively late entry into the space and the existing consumer customer bases at Venmo (PayPal) and Zelle (the banks) leaves it as the most poorly positioned among the leading platforms from a long-term perspective," said Morningstar. "As such, we think the future of this business hinges on how many platforms ultimately remain viable, and we continue to believe Cash App could prove to be a distraction from more achievable growth opportunities closely related to the core acquiring business."Square is a well-known name in a compelling market niche, but even with its recent declines, Square stock is not particularly cheap. For now, investors may be able to find better opportunities in the fintech space, including PayPal.Todd Shriber does not own any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * 4 Top American Penny Pot Stocks (Buy Before June 21) * 6 Retailers Including Disney Agree to Ditch On-Call Scheduling * The 10 Best Stocks for 2019 -- So Far * 7 Small-Cap ETFs to Buy Now Compare Brokers The post Square Stock Is Not the Easy Money You Might Think It Is appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Nine months after shares of Square (NYSE:SQ) hit an all-time high of $101.15, the stock has lost almost 29% of those gains and sits about $30 below the triple-digit zone. Now, about half way through the year, what's it going to take for SQ stock to climb above a Benjamin by the end of 2019? Or, do we need to wait for that?Source: Via SquareInvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsI wouldn't count on Square stock hitting $100 in 2019. That said, I'd bet heavily on it hitting triple digits in 2020. Here's why. Cash App Gaining GroundAt the end of 2018, Square had 15 million monthly active customers, having doubled that the number from the end of 2017. Launched in 2013, Square CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey sees its peer-to-peer payment service replacing your bank account to make bill payments and utilizing other financial services. * 7 Top-Rated Biotech Stocks to Invest In Today A new report from Nomura Instinet analyst Dan Dolev suggested that downloads of Square's Cash App increased by 2.2 million in May, 500,000 higher than Venmo, the PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) market-leading peer-to-peer payment app. Venmo is doing a good job monetizing its mobile payments app. In 2019, Venmo is expected to generate $300 million in revenue. If Cash App can continue to get more downloads than Venmo, at some point, it's possible that Square can also successfully monetize its contender. Square Capital Continues to GrowIn the final quarter of 2018, Square Capital, the company's lending business that provides loans for users of Square's payment processing services, facilitated 72,000 loans valued at $472 million (an average of $6,556 per loan). That was 55% higher than a year earlier. Since it 2014 launch, Square Capital has facilitated more than $4.5 billion in loans to more than 250,000 merchants, many of them small businesses. As Square continues to provide more services to its customers, offline and online, the company's revenue will continue to grow at double-digit rates. By figuring out how to monetize new products faster -- 51% of its Q4 2018 revenue was from products launched since 2014 -- the faster it will deliver GAAP profits. Larger Merchants Coming OnboardWhile Square got its start helping small businesses process payments, the number of larger businesses using its services has grown substantially as it's introduced new products such as Square Register, Terminal, and the Online store. Square generates more than half the company's total gross payment volume from businesses with more than $500,000 in annual volume. As the company continues to add merchants, large and small, Square is looking for ways to keep them happy. * 10 Stocks to Buy That Wall Street Expects to Soar for the Rest of 2019 One example is Square's push into cryptocurrencies. The company recently hired former Google alum Steve Lee to be Square Crypto's first hire. "Broadly, we have this massive seller network of small, medium, and large businesses … and we would love to make it as fast and efficient and transactional as possible, and that includes looking at our seller base and our register," CEO Jack Dorsey said recently. "You know, it's not 'if,' it's more of a 'when' … How do we make sure that we are getting the speed that we need and efficiency? … From a merchant perspective, and that's something we really need to get right."As Square moves to become a one-stop shop for businesses, Square Crypto could be especially attractive to larger enterprises. Bottom Line on SQ StockIf SQ stock doesn't make it to $100 by the end of 2020, it won't be because of anything it's doing in its business to scare investors away. It will be because we've gone into recession and Square's smaller customers could be severely hurt by a downturn in the economy. As for it hitting $100 in 2019, I'd say the odds are pretty low without a significant catalyst beyond the points mentioned above.At the time of this writing Will Ashworth did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * 4 Top American Penny Pot Stocks (Buy Before June 21) * 5 Red-Hot IPO Stocks to Buy for the Long Run * 5 Stocks to Buy for $20 or Less * 4 Dow Jones Stocks Ready to Rise Compare Brokers The post Can Square Stock Regain To Triple Digits By the End of the Year? appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Investors have been excited for a while now about the potential for a Palantir market debut, even though the company has yet to lay out any specific plans for an initial public offering.
The currency will be called Libra and will be managed by the new Facebook (FB) subsidiary, Calibra. Calibra's digital wallet containing Libra is expected to be launched in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app in the first half of 2020.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. made a renewed push into payments on Tuesday, announcing plans for a cryptocurrency called Libra.Read More: Facebook Wants Its Cryptocurrency to One Day Rival the GreenbackIt will be governed by the Libra Association, a group of companies that will have an equal say in how the cryptocurrency is managed. Almost 30 firms have joined and Facebook hopes another 70 or more will enter the fold in the future.Read Facebook’s Project Libra white paper hereWho’s In:Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc., the world’s largest payments networks, as well as PayPal Holdings Inc. are on board. For Visa and Mastercard, it’s a chance to offer the world of cryptocurrencies the same services they provide in card payments. All three companies know the challenges of building a network and can offer expertise in encouraging consumers to use the instrument and cajoling merchants into accepting it.Companies such as Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc., and Spotify Technology SA keep millions of credit cards on file, and they risk losing customers when people get a new card or number. E-commerce firms also pay higher “card not present” rates when processing payments, so anything that can reduce these expenses is welcome.“Libra has the potential to bridge the gap between traditional financial networks and new digital currency technology, while reducing the costs for everyone,” said Peter Hazlehurst, head of payments at Uber.International companies, including e-commerce firm MercadoLibre Inc. and telecom giant Vodafone Group Plc, signed onto Libra, too. Blockchain technology and stablecoins are potential solutions for the messy world of cross-border payments, which suffers from delays and high costs.Who’s Out:Large banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., already have their own payments businesses that reap billions of dollars in fees. With regulators still deciding how to treat cryptocurrencies, banks and investment firms are treading cautiously.So far, no large brick-and-mortar retailers, such as Target Corp. and Walmart Inc., are taking part. The industry is always interested in lowering the cost of accepting payments, but traditional merchants have historically been hesitant to accept cryptocurrencies due to volatility and lack of consumer adoption.The largest U.S. technology companies, Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc., are noticeably absent. Many of these firms have their own digital payments businesses and some are experimenting with blockchain technology. Apple has poured scorn on Facebook for repeated privacy missteps and other big tech firms are trying to avoid being associated with the social-media giant.“This is very early -- 27 organizations right now, 100 by the time we launch,” David Marcus, head of the Facebook blockchain team that’s spearheading the project, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “And by that time, I definitely expect to see banks in there, I definitely expect to see other large technology companies and I definitely expect to see more diversity of organizations in terms of geographical distribution.”Square Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey is a cryptocurrency fan, but even his firm isn’t part of Libra at launch. Square’s cryptocurrency team made its first hire last week and it’s Cash App is a popular way for consumers to buy and sell Bitcoin.Here’s the full list of founding members and partners:Andreessen Horowitz Anchorage Bison Trails Booking Holdings Inc.Breakthrough Initiatives Facebook’s CalibraCoinbase Inc.EBay Inc. Farfetch Ltd.Iliad SA’s Free Lyft Inc.Mastercard MercadoLibre Inc.’s Mercado Pago PayPal Naspers Ltd.’s PayURibbit Capital Spotify Technology SAStripe Inc.Thrive Capital Union Square Ventures Uber Visa Vodafone Group Xapo Creative Destruction Lab Kiva Mercy Corps Women’s World Banking (Updates with comment from Facebook’s David Marcus in 10th paragraph. A previous version of this story corrected Creative Destruction’s name.)To contact the reporters on this story: Jenny Surane in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Julie Verhage in New York at email@example.com;Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- If Facebook Inc.’s new digital currency goes according to plan, it could one day compete with payment giants Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc. But for now, all three are set to work with the social-media company on the venture.The currency, called Libra, will launch as soon as next year. It’s what’s known as a stablecoin, one that can avoid massive fluctuations in value so it can be used for everyday transactions. Industry experts and insiders say the payments companies want a seat at the table to help shape the new currency.Read Facebook’s Project Libra white paper here“It’s not unusual for the incumbents -- Visa, Mastercard, PayPal -- to partner with a disruptor,” Harshita Rawat, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said in an interview. “They would at least want to participate in how this product is being developed.”New payment methods such as Apple Pay and other mobile wallets are often slow to take off, so any competition is likely to be years away. Still, the earlier payments companies come to the project, the more time they have to ensure their businesses don’t suffer.None of these companies has been shy about pursuing collaboration or other strategic opportunities. PayPal alone has spent billions of dollars buying or investing in potential partnerships as well as competitors. While PayPal hasn’t ventured into cryptocurrencies before, it was a proponent of the blockchain technology that will be used to build Libra.Visa and Mastercard are always looking to embed themselves in emerging payment forms. Both have developed partnerships with cryptocurrency and blockchain firms. They’ve said that Libra can help more people gain access to financial products.“We think cryptocurrencies can address use cases that are not really well served today,” such as areas where cash-based payments remain prominent, said Jorn Lambert, executive vice president of digital solutions at Mastercard. “As such we think it will be incremental to what we do and not a replacement of it.”The payment companies are part of the Libra Association, giving them a say in how the cryptocurrency is managed. There’s currently no time commitment, so members can leave at any time. Once the group’s charter is finalized, there will be a minimum time commitment, according to some members of the group who asked not to be identified discussing private matters.“My sense is that they will try their best to partner and engage with Facebook,” Rawat said. “If Facebook takes the angle that they want to disintermediate card payments, then I think they may not want to participate.”Facebook shares rose 1.4% to $191.61 as of 11:12 a.m. in New York after announcing the cryptocurrency venture.(Updates with shares in final paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Julie Verhage in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Jenny Surane in New York at email@example.com;Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at email@example.com, Dan Reichl, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Facebook Inc. on Tuesday launched its ambitious new cryptocurrency, which targets 2.6 billion users and is backed by up to $1 billion in funds. For the blockchain faithful, there was plenty of the usual stuff you see in these kinds of projects: A white paper, a nonprofit consortium to govern the digital coins, geeky technical details on how transactions will be validated, and the promise of open-source code.But for consumers, who will decide ultimately whether or not Libra is a flop, there was only a slightly underwhelming hint of what it might actually be used for: A picture of someone sending money to someone else via a smartphone.Even setting aside the various risks thrown up by the Libra white paper (financial stability, user privacy, and whether it could cope with hundreds of millions of daily transactions), you have to ask why it might be a compelling product. The service described by Facebook, namely sending money “as you might send a text message,” is already offered by plenty of other companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Apple Cash, PayPal Holdings Inc.’s Venmo and Circle, a peer-to-peer payments provider that lets you transfer traditional fiat currencies.Indeed, Facebook itself lets you send cash through its Messaging app. The company even had its own virtual currency before, called Credits, for the purchasing of content from within apps. It didn’t take off.Libra’s sales pitch says that “in time, we hope to offer additional services for people and businesses, like paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.” It’s true that you can’t do that on every payments app. But Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg faces plenty of competition in the race toward a cashless society, with other corporate and government rivals already well advanced in their plans. Sweden, for example, is on the road to becoming cashless as soon as 2023. The local mobile payments service Swish was used by about 60 percent of Swedes in 2018, according to a Riksbank survey. It has more than 6.7 million users in the country.This isn’t to write off Facebook’s chances completely. Maybe its financial heft and vast number of users could turn something that’s already pretty convenient today (money transfers and payments) into something ultra-convenient. Imagine a pot of Libra tokens that could pay directly for every goods purchase or app subscription without the need for any currency conversion or card payment. This would, though, depend on Facebook’s ability to manage the huge technical challenge of designing a single coin that can be used truly anywhere.To become a genuinely universal medium of exchange, the company would need to get rival tech giants like Amazon.Com Inc. and Netflix Inc. on board. And why would they want to do Zuckerberg any favors? The idea that Libra is really at arm’s length from his social media empire of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp is debatable. Facebook plans to lead the Libra consortium for the rest of 2019, and it will be at least five years before the blockchain technology that supports the tokens is completely decentralized. The ultimate dream of any crypto project worth its salt is that the digital currency doesn’t rely on a single point of control. But even if Facebook manages to get there, does Zuckerberg really want to embrace the dangers of a Wild West cryptocurrency? Bitcoin is a lesson here.And what about Facebook’s targeting of the “unbanked,” or those in the developing world struggling with volatile currencies? Bitcoin and its ilk promised to address the same problems, and have failed completely to help anyone other than speculators and criminals.Zuckerberg’s own patchy record on international payments should give pause too. WhatsApp Pay has struggled to gain regulatory acceptance in India, the world’s top remittance market, because its data storage practices didn’t meet national standards. Libra will have to answer a lot of similar questions about its financial structure and treatment of customer information.Facebook has been on a mission over the past year to recapture the trust of its users. Libra certainly demands a lot of faith.To contact the author of this story: Lionel Laurent at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Lionel Laurent is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Brussels. He previously worked at Reuters and Forbes.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Facebook has unveiled Libra, a new type of money that could eventually become the world’s first widely used cryptocurrency.