In June 2019, Facebook surprised many when it announced its Libra cryptocurrency. Libra, which is managed by the Libra Association, could be used for purchases and Facebook hopes that its price will not move as much as other cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
“Facebook Logo (2015) light” (Public domain)
Libra has the support of several companies, such as Uber, Coinbase and Lyft. This undeniably shows that Facebook feels that cryptocurrency is hugely important, but the company may need to buy a blockchain business for it to really do something big in the industry.
Why Facebook May Need to Buy a Company
While some were delighted to hear that Facebook is now into cryptocurrency, politicians, non-profits, and regulators have all questioned what the company is doing in the industry. Facebook’s data breaches have left some wondering whether it can really be trusted to handle payment data such as blockchain transactions made using Libra.
Several members of the Libra Association such as eBay, Vodafone, Stripe, Visa, and Mastercard have all left because of these questions. It seems unlikely that Facebook will be able to make Libra a success without purchasing a company that has shown that it can handle data properly and can change industries in a way that won’t bother the people who make the rules.
How Much Would Facebook Pay
It’s unclear how much Facebook would pay to purchase a cryptocurrency-related company, such as an anti-money laundering organization, a data security firm, or a cryptocurrency exchange site. Facebook has shown that it is happy to spend billions of dollars to get into an industry though and its purchase of VR headset maker Oculus for $2 billion was one of the biggest takeovers in gaming. In comparison, Microsoft paid $2.5 billion to buy Minecraft developer Mojang, while Amaya paid $4.9 billion in 2014 to buy iGaming firm PokerStars.
Libra could also be hugely important to how Facebook makes money. If 1.7 billion people without bank accounts in the world are able to buy things with Libra through Facebook, then it is likely that they will buy these products after seeing ads online. This will get businesses to spend much more on advertising on Facebook.
What Other Companies Could Buy a Cryptocurrency Business?
Facebook may have created the Libra Association, but any of its other members could also buy a cryptocurrency business. If Uber was to create a cryptocurrency, it could use the blockchain to ensure rider and driver safety as information about the trip would be available to anyone. Meanwhile, Shopify could use a blockchain to make it easier for stores to offer product returns, as the reason for giving back the item and the price paid could all be tracked on this digital ledger.
It doesn’t seem as though the other members of the association are going to buy a cryptocurrency business soon though, and if they are supporting Libra, it suggests that they are much happier for Facebook to do all of the work instead of one of these companies launching a cryptocurrency or blockchain by themselves. That doesn’t mean that Facebook won’t buy a cryptocurrency company though, and seeing the response to its Libra announcements from those who could stop it, it may have to.