Facebook Unveils Calibra
“A New Digital Wallet for a New Digital Currency”
Early Tuesday morning, Facebook released information announcing Calibra, “a newly formed Facebook subsidiary whose goal is to provide financial services that will let people access and participate in the Libra network.”
The first product Calibra will introduce is a digital wallet for Libra, Facebook’s new “global currency powered by blockchain technology” scheduled to release next year.
The wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app — and we expect to launch in 2020.
According to the release, the motivation for Calibra is the lagging of financial services in the internet age.
If you have an internet connection today, you can access all kinds of useful services for little to no cost — whether you’re trying to keep in touch with family and friends, learn new things or even start a business. But when it comes to saving, sending and spending money, it’s not that simple.
While large portions of the population in a number of more-developed countries have experienced a transition towards “mobile banking,” for many people around the world, even basic financial services are still out of reach.
Facebook highlights statistics like those from the World Bank which reveal that almost half of the adults in the world don’t have an active bank account.
The cost of that exclusion is high — approximately 70% of small businesses in developing countries lack access to credit and $25 billion is lost by migrants every year through remittance fees.
From launch, Calibra will allow users to 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.”
After launch, the company aims to expand and offer additional services “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” for both people and businesses.
Here’s a sneak peek at what the experience of using Calibra will be like:
In the press release, Facebook made sure to address fraud;
We’ll be using all the same verification and anti-fraud processes that banks and credit cards use, and we’ll have automated systems that will proactively monitor activity to detect and prevent fraudulent behavior.
We’ll also offer dedicated live support to help if you lose your phone or your password — and if someone fraudulently gains access to your account and you lose some Libra as a result, we’ll offer you a refund.
and privacy concerns;
We’ll also take steps to protect your privacy. Aside from limited cases, Calibra will not share account information or financial data with Facebook or any third party without customer consent.
This means Calibra customers’ account information and financial data will not be used to improve ad targeting on the Facebook family of products.
The limited cases where this data may be shared reflect our need to keep people safe, comply with the law and provide basic functionality to the people who use Calibra.
Readers looking for a more information regarding the Facebook subsidiary’s commitments to privacy and consumer protection can find the Calibra Customer Commitment here.
The release concludes by underscoring that Calibra is still early in the developing process and that the company will be “consulting with a wide range of experts to make sure we can deliver a product that is safe, private and easy to use for everyone.”
More updates are to be shared as the process unfolds, but if you’d like to be among the first to know when Calibra is available, you can sign up here.