Facebook Reveals Its Cryptocurrency Play: CEO Daily

Alan Murray
Facebook's Libra Cryptocurrency and Its Generational Divide — Data Sheet

Good morning.

It’s a big day in the technology world. Facebook has announced plans to dive headfirst into cryptocurrency, with an offering that allows peer-to-peer payments as well as purchases on the Facebook platform. Initial partners include Visa, Mastercard, Uber, PayPal and Stripe. The currency’s name: Libra.

Facebook is touting this as an effort to provide banking services to the “unbanked”—people without adequate financial services. But anyone who has watched the explosion of commerce and financial services happening on social media sites throughout Asia knows the move potentially opens huge opportunities for the company. That’s why analysts have been excited to see the news. Some early reviews:

Suntrust: “We believe this is a major initiative for Facebook, and one that has the potential of putting the company front and center in areas beyond advertising, including commerce and financial services, materially expanding its [total addressable market] and growth prospects…”

RBC: “We believe this may prove to be one of the most important initiatives in the history of the company to unlock new engagement and revenue streams.”

And Bank of America: “With more than 2.5 billion users, Facebook and its partners could be a significant endorsement of cryptocurrency and a notable addition to the Facebook app ecosystem.”

My Fortune colleagues report that crypto enthusiasts, with their anti-establishment bent, can’t agree whether the tech giant entering their space is good news or bad news. But early crypto investor Barry Silbert tweeted: “The launch of Facebook’s cryptocurrency will go down in history as THE catalyst that propelled digital assets (including bitcoin) to mass global consumer adoption.”

Worth noting Libra won’t be available for use until 2020.

You can find more coverage of the Libra launch on fortune.com. And it is sure to be a hot topic of conversation at Fortune Brainstorm Finance, which gets underway tomorrow in Montauk.

News below.

Alan Murray @alansmurrayalan.murray@fortune.com

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    This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer. Find previous editions here, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters here.