UPDATE: Facebook's cryptocurrency foray leads bitcoin to its best trading stretch in 3 weeks
By Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch
Facebook's reported cryptocurrency will be called Libra, says WSJ
Bitcoin futures for June delivery trading on the CME Group Inc. (CME) on Friday settled at $8,440, up nearly 2% on the day and up about 5.3% for week, according to FactSet data, representing the best weekly gain since the period ended May 24. Meanwhile, bitcoin prices were at $8,604, according to CoinDesk, tracking near the digital currency's highest levels since March.
Check out: 'If you're not a billionaire' in 10 years 'it's your own fault,' says 20-year-old bitcoin tycoon (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/if-youre-not-a-billionaire-in-10-years-its-your-own-fault-says-20-year-old-bitcoin-tycoon-2019-05-14)
Helping to fuel gains in an already buoyant asset are developing details on Facebook's (FB) reported plan for a cryptocurrency, which will be pegged to a basket of fiat currencies, like the dollar, and be used as a crypto-based payment system, tapping into the social-media platform's 2.4 billion monthly active-user base, the Wall Street Journal reported (https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebooks-new-cryptocurrency-gets-big-backers-11560463312?tesla=y&mod=article_inline).
The report said that Facebook will unveil the new crypto-payment platform sometime next week, with an array of heavyweight backers, which include Mastercard Inc. (MA), PayPal Holdings Inc. (PYPL), UberTechnologies (UBER) and Visa Inc. (V).
A report from news site The Block on Friday (https://www.theblockcrypto.com/2019/06/14/facebooks-cryptocurrency-partners-revealed-we-obtained-the-entire-list-of-inaugural-backers/) said the list of backers and potential users also includes popular crypto-trading platform Coinbase, Spotify Technology (SPOT) and venture-capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures.
Unlike traditional cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, Facebook's crypto will be a centralized, rather than decentralized blockchain network. That means verification is controlled by a select group rather than the public, and the crypto is pegged to a hard asset as a way to mitigate the volatile price swings that have been associated with digital assets, like bitcoin and Ethereum's ether tokens .
The Journal said that cryptocurrency, likely to be called Libra, won't be controlled by Facebook but members of some of the early supporters could serve as digital verifiers of transactions and record-keepers, otherwise known as nodes in the parlance of cryptos.
The anticipated move by Facebook is seen as an endorsement of nascent blockchain, the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies, created about a decade ago with the formation of bitcoin by an individual or group using the name Satoshi Nakamoto.
The payments effort would also come as Wall Street firms and businesses are increasingly experimenting with digital assets. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) earlier this year announced a token, called JPM Coin (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/jpmorgan-just-launched-its-own-cryptocurrency-what-you-need-to-know-2019-02-14), intended to handle international settlements.
Shares of Facebook on Friday climbed 2.2% and 4.6% for the week, compared with a weekly gain of 0.4% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average , a 0.5% return for the S&P 500 index and a 0.7% rise for the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index over the five-session period.
-Mark DeCambre; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 15, 2019 16:09 ET (20:09 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.