How Facebook Is Breaking Into Crypto

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) shares made a handy gain on Friday after over a dozen companies said that they were ready to back its upcoming foray into cryptocurrency. While Facebook hasn’t come public with the cryptocurrency yet, an announcement is expected next week.

This has been in the works for more than a year, and the secretive project revolves around a digital coin that its users could send to each other and use to make purchases both on Facebook and across the internet.

The Wall Street Journal reported that several big name tech companies are getting in on this action, including Uber, PayPal, Visa and Mastercard. As such, these firms are expected to invest roughly $10 million each to support Facebook’s new cryptocurrency. Facebook is looking to raise as much as $1 billion for the effort.

Facebook won’t directly control the coin, nor will any individual backer of the group, known as the Libra Association. Some of the members could serve as “nodes” along the system that verify transactions and maintain records of them, creating a brand-new payments network.

The social-media giant has also hired a U.K. bank lobbyist as its director of public policy in London, the Financial Times said. The Wall Street Journal also reported Facebook plans to step up its marketing spending in a shift in its consumer-facing advertising strategy.

Shares of Facebook were last seen up about 2% at $180.92, in a 52-week range of $123.02 to $218.62. The consensus price target is $222.30.