Facebook’s pursuit of a crypto-based payment system would seem to be filled with potholes and red flags. The social network’s stealth project isn’t much of a secret, and another Facebook virtual currency has already failed years earlier. But Facebook also has a lot in its corner — enough to threaten the e-commerce and payment processing establishment, should its crypto project take off.
The social network hasn’t publicly discussed building a cryptocurrency payment system, though its corporate moves would appear to make a launch inevitable. It transferred David Marcus from his post overseeing Messenger to a job heading Facebook’s blockchain development. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said blockchain could be the basis of a wide range of innovation.
There’s also news of a stablecoin for usage on WhatsApp, internal executive moves beyond Marcus’ transfer, and this week word that Facebook is courting up to $1 billion in investments from large payment firms such as Mastercard, Visa and First Data, among others. None of these companies would confirm this news, and a Facebook spokesperson said Facebook is “exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology.”
Facebook is massive
According to Pew Research Center, 68% of Americans use Facebook — among social networks, only YouTube comes in higher, at 73%. By comparison, only 24% of Americans use Twitter. And of the Facebook users, 74% use it daily and 50% use it several times per day, according to Pew. Facebook’s users are also a goldmine for targeted marketing. As many as 80% of consumers aged 18-49 use Facebook, a prime age demographic for e-commerce advertising and shopping.