May 3 (UPI) — Facebook could integrate cryptocurrency payments into its social network, rewarding users with micropayments for viewing advertisements or allowing people to send payments through messaging apps.
The social media giant has talked with Visa and MasterCard about working together on the project, known internally as Project Libra, The Wall Street Journal reported. Facebook wants to use digital currency on the blockchain with valuation tied to the U.S. dollar.
The news comes one day after CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s speech at Facebook’s F8 annual software developer conference in San Jose, Calif. where he talked about the importance of digital payments.
“When I think about all the different ways that people interact privately, I think payments is of the areas where we have an opportunity to make it a lot easier,” Zuckerberg said.
The service could also be embedded into third-party apps and websites when users log-in with their Facebook profiles.
Facebook has been under fire for privacy issues in the United States and in Britain in recent years. The company’s current freemium business model makes users the product that it builds profiles on that in turn is sold to advertisers.
“Payments and commerce are Facebook’s only way out,” Henry Liu, a former Facebook employee and managing partner of YGC, a blockchain investment firm, told CNBC.