Facebook is far enough along in its efforts to push out a cryptocurrency that discussions with exchanges have been held about offering the "Facebook coin" to consumers, according to a report in the New York Times published Thursday.
The Facebook employees reportedly have told the exchanges that they are hoping to get a product out in the first half of 2019.
No details were provided on which exchanges the social media giant has been in talks with, but the revelation is yet another reminder of how the once niche world of cryptocurrency is seeping into mainstream digital markets.
While Facebook itself has been rather quiet on their cryptocurrency project, most of the details about it have come in the form of insider leaks.
What We Know About Facebook and Cryptocurrency
Speaking to people familiar with the project, Bloomberg revealed late last year that Facebook is working on making a cryptocurrency which will let users transfer money on its WhatsApp messaging app. The digital currency would wield a specific focus on the remittances market in India where the WhatsApp messenger has more than 200 million users.
Data from the World Bank shows that India topped the world in remittances in 2017, having sent about $69 billion home that year.
Sources say that the currency would be a "stable coin" likely pegged "to a basket of different foreign currencies, rather than just the dollar."
It is also known that the team behind Facebook's crypto venture is reputable as it is being led by former PayPal president and Coinbase board member, David Marcus.
James Everingham, the former head of Instagram engineering, is in control of the project's blockchain engineering, and ex-Instagram VP of product Kevin Weil is now the blockchain VP of product, Buisness Insiderreports.
Facebook acquired the WhatsApp messenger in 2014 for $19 billion. The app is said to have close to a half-billion users worldwide.
Another interesting take home
From the recent New York Times report is the note that encrypted messengers such as Telegram and Signal are readying a cryptocurrency over the next year, placing them in direct competition with Venmo or PayPal.