Social media giant Facebook is launching its own cryptocurrency, according to media reports over the weekend.
The move will pave the way for its billions of users around the world
to make electronic payments.
The company is also said to be mulling other ways to leverage blockchain- the distributed ledger technology- behind cryptocurrencies.
This comes as Facebook last week appointed David Marcus, ex-vice-president at PayPal, to start a new team aimed to “explore how to best leverage blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch”.
Facebook began to explore the impact of leveraging blockchain technology one year ago. At the time Morgan Bellen, a member of the company’s corporate development team, was the only employee studying the impact of blockchain.
Marcus, an early Bitcoin investor, joined cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase last December as a board member.
This is not the first time Facebook has experimented with virtual currencies. In 2009, the company launched Facebook Credits, a feature aimed at purchasing virtual goods in games such as Farmville. However, the product’s limited success prompted the firm to exit the market in 2011.
A spokesperson for Facebook said: Facebook spokesperson: "Like many other companies Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team will be exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share."