Facebook is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency early next year in around 12 global markets, according to the BBC. The social media giant’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, met with Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, last month to discuss the planned Facebook cryptocurrency, which will be branded GlobalCoin.
To discuss the potential impact on the payments space, we reached out to Paysafe Group’s Lorenzo Pellegrino, the CEO of Skrill Ltd., NETELLER and Income Access. Last July, the international Skrill digital wallet began allowing users to buy and sell crypto (Skrill USA doesn’t currently have this capability).
“The news from Facebook regarding the launch of its own cryptocurrency is a major development for the industry,” said Pellegrino. “The general criticism around crypto has been that it is not a currency in the truest sense, because of the little practical use beyond being a store of wealth and an asset to trade.”
He added, “As Facebook has a number of eCommerce ambitions, including in-app checkouts via Instagram, we may see users have the ability to buy a variety of products through GlobalCoin and recognise the value of their cryptocurrency in the real world.”
Pellegrino feels that for cryptocurrencies to develop into a credible alternative to fiat currencies, they need to make the leap from simply having value to becoming a widely accepted payment method, both online and among main street retailers.
“To adapt to this shift, retailers will need to ensure they have the processes in place which enable them to accept crypto at the checkout,” said Pellegrino.
He added that in Paysafe’s Lost in Transaction 2018: The future of payments for SMBs research report, the payment service provider asked small-to-medium-sized businesses in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, and Austria about accepting cryptocurrencies through their online checkout.
Six percent of global online businesses currently accept cryptocurrencies, though this rises to 9% in the US, according to the report. The study reveals, however, that 15% of SMBs have ambitions to accept crypto in the next two years.
“There’s no doubt that developments such as the forthcoming Facebook launch may well act as a further catalyst for this adoption,” said Pellegrino.