The services would be provided by a newly formed Facebook subsidiary called Calibra. The first product that Calibra will introduce, says the company, is a digital wallet for a new blockchain-powered global currency, called Libra.
The digital wallet will be available in Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app, and will allow users anywhere to save, send, and spend Libra. The wallet and its associated digital currency are designed to address the current limited access to basic financial services experienced by many populations around the world.
"From the beginning, Calibra will let you send Libra to almost anyone with a smartphone, as easily and instantly as you might send a text message and at low to no cost," says the company. "And, in time, we hope to offer additional services for people and businesses, like paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass."
Libra, the underlying digital currency itself, says the company, is designed to be a medium of exchange and will be built on a secure, scalable, and reliable blockchain and backed by a reserve of assets (i.e., a basket of existing major global currencies) designed to give it intrinsic value. It will be governed by the independent Libra Association, a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Switzerland that was formed to manage and evolve the new ecosystem.
The Libra Association will be responsible for facilitating the development of the Libra Blockchain and managing the Libra Reserve. Members of the Libra Association will consist of geographically distributed and diverse businesses, nonprofit and multilateral organizations, and academic institutions.
The initial group of "Founding Members" working together on finalizing the association's charter include the following companies and organizations listed by industry:
- Payments: Mastercard, PayPal, PayU (Naspers’ fintech arm), Stripe, Visa
- Technology and marketplaces: Booking Holdings, eBay,