Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that Facebook has chosen London as the base for a new team that will be responsible for integrating payments into WhatsApp.
The social media giant recently trialled P2P payments in India before announcing plans to roll out the feature across several jurisdictions over the next 12 months.
Speaking at a Facebook developer conference last week, Zuckerberg stated that “payments is one of the areas where we have an opportunity to make it a lot easier. I believe it should be as easy to send money to someone as it is to send a photo.”
The Financial Times reported that WhatsApp, which was bought by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion, plans to add around 100 new staff members to the 400-strong existing team. They will be employed to work on developing he payments functionality as well as to address any issues relating to spam and safety.
London was apparently picked due to its multicultural and diverse workforce, despite the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit.
It was recently alleged that Facebook is intending to launch its own cryptocurrency coin. The project, entitled “Project Libra” aims to conquer the online payments market and bring cryptocurrency to its 2 billion regular users.
It was also reported that the platform was in talks with Visa and Mastercard regarding its stablecoin and crytpo-powered online payment systems.
Rumours have been circulating around Facebook’s intention to launch its own cryptocurrency, since May 2018. Whilst refusing to confirm or deny such speculation, the corporation commented that “Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”
It has also recently come to light that Facebook have relaxed their ban on Facebook ads promoting cryptocurrency and related products.
In January 2018, Facebook stopped allowing adverts that promoted crypto, blockchain, ICOs, binary options, and various other financial products. The ban was implemented over concerns that users may fall foul to scammers and schemes.
“We’ve listened to feedback and assessed the policy’s effectiveness,” Facebook said Wednesday in a blog post. “While we will still require people to apply to run ads promoting cryptocurrency, starting today, we will narrow this policy to no longer require pre-approval for ads related to blockchain technology, industry news, education or events related to cryptocurrency.”
The company had been widely criticised for the broad scope of the ban, which hindered many legitimate businesses from advertising and promoting their products on the platform.
Whilst binary options will still be banned, ads for crypto related topics will now be allowed, subject to their compliance with general advertising standards imposed by the platform.
This relaxation of the rules is believed to be due to the fact that Facebook is taking significant steps into the crypto-sphere, meaning any ban on its own platform would be nonsensical and leave them open to accusations of bias and market monopoly.