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Facebook poised to launch scaled-back Libra cryptocurrency in January

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Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency could finally launch in January, the Financial Times (FT) has reported citing three sources involved in the project.

The social network originally announced the project last year, with tentative plans to launch in 2020 as a way to encourage people to make more financial transactions online.

The payment method revolves around a digital wallet called Calibra and a digital currency called Libra, which will be based on real-world assets to minimise volatility.

Facebook planned for Libra to be incorporated into its own social media and messaging platforms – much like Chinese messaging platform WeChat supporting WePay – in addition to a dedicated app and support from other platforms.

While initially enjoying the support of mainstream financial institutions such as Mastercard, Visa, Stripe and Mercado Pago, these firms later abandoned the project.

Now, the FT reports that the Libra Association will launch a single digital coin backed by the dollar, representing a significant scaling back of the original ambitions for the cryptocurrency.

The Association, of which Facebook is one of 27 members, is seeking approval from Switzerland's markets watchdog to issue a series of 'stablecoins' backed by individual traditional currencies, as well as a token based on the currency-pegged stablecoins.

Yet under the body's new plan, other coins backed by traditional currencies would be introduced at a later date, the FT said.

Paypal, which was the first major firm to exit the Libra Association, recently announced that it would support other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Bitcoin’s value has been soaring and currently rests at a value near its all-time high.

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