BBC: Facebook Planning to Launch ‘GlobalCoin’ in Q1 2020

Siamak Masnavi

Social networking giant Facebook is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency (internally dubbed "GlobalCoin") and crypto-powered global payments network (internally called "Project Libra") worldwide by Q1 2020, according to a report published earlier today by BBC News, the world's largest broadcast news organization.

Project Libra's Origin Story

  • 8 May 2018: In a post on Facebook, David Marcus, the former head of Messenger, who was at that time also a board member (since December 2017) of crypto exchange Coinbase, revealed that he was leaving that role to set up a new group focused on exploring applications of blockchain technology across the whole of Facebook.
  • 13 December 2018: Cheddar reported that Facebook’s blockchain group is planning to "potentially disrupt the entire payments industry":

"At a private dinner Facebook hosted during a recent crypto conference, one attendee told Cheddar that Facebook employees pitched the idea of creating a decentralized digital currency for the social network’s 2 billion users."

  • 21 December 2018: Bloomberg reported that Facebook was creating its own cryptocurrency (a stablecoin) for money transfers within its highly popular messaging app WhatsApp.
  • 28 February 2019: The New York Times confirmed Bloomberg's earlier story, and said that, according to its sources, this project was "far enough along that the social networking giant has held conversations with cryptocurrency exchanges about selling the Facebook coin to consumers."
  • 8 April 2019: Nathaniel Popper, one of the two journalists who wrote the report in the New York Times, provided this update (on Twitter) about Facebook's cryptocurrency project:
  • 2 May 2019: The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook was "recruiting dozens of financial firms and online merchants to help launch a cryptocurrency-based payments system," and that the core part of this initiative (code-named "Project Libra") is "a digital coin that its users could send to each other and use to make purchases both on Facebook and across the internet." Furthermore, this report said that, according to people familiar, Facebook was talking to "financial institutions including Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc. and payment processor First Data Corp." about investing in this project.
  • 17 May 2019: A report by Reuters said that FinTech company Libra Network was registered in the Republic and Canton of Geneva on May 2. Looking at the entry for Libra Networks, which was published on May 7 in the Swiss Official Gazettte of Commerce (SOGC), tells us:
    • Libra Networks LLC (registration number: CHE193533388) has its registered office in Geneva.
    • According to the English translation, the stated purpose of this company is "provision of services in the fields of finance and technology, as well as the development and production of related software and infrastructure, particularly in connection with investment activities, the payment operation, the financing, identity management, data analysis, big data, blockchain and other technologies."
    • The share capital is CHF 20,000 (100 shares, each with a nominal value of CHF 200); all of the shares are owned by Facebook Global Holdings II, LLC.

Facebook's Stablecoin: GlobalCoin

Here is what we have learnt from the BBC News report:

  • Facebook "is planning to set up a digital payments system in about a dozen countries by the first quarter of 2020."
  • The plan is to start testing the new cryptocurrency (some kind of stablecoin), GlobalCoin, by the end of 2019.
  • Facebook has been getting "advice on operational and regulatory issues" from the UK's central bank governor Mark Carney (whom Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly met in April) and from U.S. Treasury officials.
  • Facebook is also in talks with global remittance firms such as Western Union "as it looks for cheaper and faster ways for people without a bank account to send and receive money."

Update (May 24, 09:20 UTC): The UK's Financial Times is reporting that, according to “two people familiar with the matter”, Facebook has also been talking to crypto exchanges Coinbase and Gemini about its new cryptocurrency.

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pexels.com

Theta Network's THETA and TFUEL Tokens Are Up 437% and 630% in 2020

Siamak Masnavi

THETA and TFUEL, the governance and operational tokens of Theta Network protocol (developed by Theta Labs), which is designed to address the problems with existing solutions for live video streaming. Both of these cryptoassets have experienced tremendous price appreciation in 2020. 

Theta's solution is decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) video delivery powered by its own native blockchain (which uses Multi-BFT Consensus), which in turn is powered by the users. As you watch your favorite live video streamers, or when you are not using your computer, Theta uses your spare upload bandwidth to relay streams to other users in your local area, and rewards you with TFUEL tokens.

The Theta mainnet was launched on 15 March 2019, but it was back on 14 February 2019 when Theta Labs explained via a blog post the difference between Theta Token (THETA) and Theta Fuel (TFUEL) token:

Theta Labs said that THETA is the governance token of Theta protocol, and that it is used "to stake as a Validator or Guardian node, contributing to block production and the protocol governance of the Theta Network." Users earn "earn a proportional amount of the new TFUEL generated" by "staking and running a node." THETA has a fixed maximum supply of one billion.

As for TFUEL, it is the operational token of Theta protocol. TFUEL "powers on-chain operations like payments to relayers for sharing a video stream, or for deploying or interacting with smart contracts," and it is earned by relayers "for every video stream they relay to other users on the network." 

Both THETA and TFUEL are native tokens of the  Theta blockchain.

These two cryptoassets have been two of the best-performing cryptoassets in 2020 as the two TradingView price charts (for the year-to-date period) below illustrate:

THETA-USD TV Chart on 27 May 2020.png

TFUEL-USD TV Chart on 27 May 2020.png

The THETA price has gone up over 437% against USD (to reach $0.468)  in the YTD period. As for the TFUEL price, it has increased over 630% to $0.0146.

THETA and TFUEL are currently ranked #27 and #93 by reported market cap.

There are three reasons for such amazing price appreciation in 2020:

  • Rapid growth in the number of users of decentralized video streaming platform Theta.TV due to multiple new partnership deals (such as with Samsung and NASA) and the growing demand for entertainment from all the people forced to stay at home due to lockdown measures introduced as the result of the current COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, Theta.TV has been hosting several important virtual blockchain conferences in the past few weeks, most notably Coindesk's Consensus: Distributed conference.
  • The upcoming launch of version 2 of the Theta Mainnet (this is expected to go live around 22:00 UTC on May 27).

Interestingly, the day for Theta's network upgrade (which is supported by Binance) coincides with the day on which NASA and Elon Musk's SpaceX are launching the Falcon 9 rocket:

Update at 13:40 UTC on May 27:

According to a report by Coindesk, Google is "teaming up with Theta Labs in a move meant to help the video delivery network onboard users through Google Cloud." The report goes on to say that Google will "become the protocol’s fifth external validator node, staking 5 million THETA tokens (worth about $2.4 million at a press-time price of $0.48 each) on the network."

Theta Labs CEO Mitch Liu is hoping for further collaborations with Google:

“YouTube is particularly interesting because they utilize mostly internally-developed technology for video delivery and streaming, which makes experimentation a lot easier without having to rely on external platforms like Akamai or AWS."

The announcement seems to have given THETA token's price another push, as you can see from the 24-hour THETA-USD price chart (from CryptoCompare) shown below:

THETA-USD 24 Hour Chart on 27 May 2020.png

Featured Image Courtesy of Theta Labs