Project Libra is the codename for Facebook’s plans to release its own cryptocurrency for shopping and sending currency within the Facebook social network and the company’s various apps like Instagram and Messenger. Facebook announced the new form of digital money in June 2019 but did not disclose exactly when Facebook Libra will become available.
Facebook also announced that it has created a new digital wallet called Calibra that serves as a way for users to store and spend their Libra currency. Calibra will function in a fashion similar to the popular existing Venmo app.
Libra will be managed by a Swiss-based consortium known as the Libra Foundation, with founding members including Facebook, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Coinbase and more than 20 other companies.
Expectations are for the Libra digital currency to be available to the public through Facebook apps and services like the Facebook social network, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp in mid-2020. At that time, users will be able to download the Calibra wallet app and purchase Libra currency by connecting one or more of their bank accounts to Calibra.
Privacy Concerns Around Facebook Extend to Libra
While Facebook is touting Libra as a convenient tool to help users purchase products and services and send money to other users, many are questioning how Facebook will protect users’ privacy when it comes to Libra.
Critics contend Libra will give Facebook and its partners additional ways to track users online and enable the company to further personalize ads and information based on their users’ shopping behaviors.
Users will be presented with an option to keep their Calibra wallet information separate from their other Facebook profile details and history, but the company’s recent troubles with keeping user data private have many concerned that Libra will create a higher risk when it comes to ensuring the security of sensitive user data.