Social Media Giant Launches ‘Facebook Finance’ Division to Push For Payment Opportunities

  • Facebook Inc. is determined to push its strides in the payment industry with the launch of the F2 division, Facebook Financial, to handle all its payments.
  • The division will be led by the co-founder of Libra Association, and Novi CEO, David Marcus
  • Stephane Kasriel joins from Upwork Inc.

The largest social network company in the world is launching a new payment and commerce division led by Davis Marcus. Facebook Financial will be in charge of all the payment projects currently in development under FB, including WhatsApp Pay, Novi, and any universal payment features set to be built on Messenger and Instagram in the future.

The launch of the division focuses its energy on building stable commerce systems within the Facebook-controlled apps, in a bid to increase advertisement revenue and keep users longer on the platform, the Bloomberg states.

One of the key developments F2 will work on is the launch of WhatsApp Pay in Brazil and India to boost e-commerce. However, the process of registration and tough regulations in the country are slowing the implementation process.

David Marcus, who has championed for the development of digital currencies since the launch of Libra, states the company is working with financial regulators in these two countries to integrate payments on their apps. He said,

“It’s helpful to have specific expertise in financial services regulation to build things the right way from the get-go.”

Former CEO of the freelancing marketplace, Upwork Inc., Stephane Kasriel, will join the Facebook Finance division as a payments vice president, deputizing Marcus.

Recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained the benefits of Libra to Facebook shareholders during the AGM, stating the stablecoins will usher in a new wave of higher prices for advertisements on its social platforms.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Libra’s Permissionless Blockchain Objective Pushed as They Face Regulatory Woes

  • Facebook backed Libra have moved away from their fully permissionless concept due to regulatory woes with the financial watchdogs.
  • Ran Goldi gave Libra a five to ten-year timeline to actually achieve their goal. They recently appointed a new CEO who they believed has the expertise and experience to help Libra launch legally.

Ran Goldi, the CEO of First Group, has now revealed that Libra might not be able to realize their Permissionless Blockchain ideology. At least not just yet. Adding that it might take another decade or half-decade to achieve this as he hosted the Consensus 2020 event earlier this week.

The CEO, who has been a major proponent of Libra, reiterated that the stablecoin could set the basis from which other Coins would be launched. The Permissionless concept would have to be put on hold due to the regulatory crunches posed. They had envisioned achieving this on a 5-year timeline but have been forced to abandon their plans until the financial watchdogs could realize that the DeFi sphere was actually capable of self-regulation.

Banking the Unbanked

When quizzed about what type of ecosystem could be developed around Libra, he was quick to cite that mostly remittance applications would benefit from Libra. This is as they venture into developing an application that would ‘bank the unbanked’.

He also conversed with Michael Shaulov CEO of FireBlocks on why they had no commitment to joining Libra despite their competitors Anchorage had already onboarded Libra. FireBlocks provides expertise in secure infrastructure (Storage and transfer) for financial institutions that are in cryptocurrencies and Blockchain. Servicing around 50 institutions facilitating over $7 billion in transactions.

Mr. Shaulov expressed his concern that they hadn’t exactly determined how joining Libra’s fold would be especially beneficial to FireBlocks.

“…we sort of realized that actually it’s not clear that being part of the Association would really help us.”

New CEO to help with regulatory crunches

Notably, the Libra association revealed their newly appointed CEO during a May 6th announcement. Mr. Levey, the former Chief Legal Officer at HSBC, boasts of vast experience in both private and government sectors. He has served in the government as the Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence under both Obama and Bush regimes.

He has been touted as the one to steer Libra from the regulatory crunches and help them launch stablecoins legally according to a Libra board member.

“…bringing his extensive expertise to combine technology innovation with a robust compliance and regulatory framework”.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Facebook Calibra Wallet Devs Reveal Distributed Auditing Proofs of Liabilities (DAPOL)

  • Facebook has recently introduced a new audit protocol on its Calibra wallet app for auditing of its assets.
  • In a bid to improve the already existing distributed audit process, Calibra’s research team brought forward the Distributed Auditing Proofs of Liabilities (DAPOL) onto the platform.

Dating back to April 2014, the cryptocurrency world witnessed one of its biggest heists when a hacker managed to illegally transfer a large number of Bitcoins to himself. This was after allegedly getting hold of an Mt. Gox auditor’s credentials. In April 2014 Mt. Gox announced that Bitcoins, worth $450 million, had been stolen from customers. This ultimately led to the company’s liquidation. The company, however, would have survived had it adopted a legit protocol for asset auditing.

Calibra team leader and blockchain engineer Konstantinos Chalkias recently told the public that DAPOL protocol was setting a platform to improve on the already existing auditing methods. Most importantly to enhance privacy. The protocol allows a distributed audit of liabilities to be undertaken on entities.

DAPOL’S Main Advantage Over The Old Auditing Techniques

Arguably the main advantage brought to the table by DAPOL is its enhanced privacy, where a third party is combined together with a decentralized audit. This typically means that during an audit, all accounts are focused on and none is overlooked. In his statement, Konstantinos Chalkias explained that in the Distributed Auditing Proofs of Liabilities (DAPOL), it does not expose the number of people who verify their inclusion in the totals. He said,

“The Distributed Auditing Proofs of Liabilities (DAPOL) are schemes designed to let companies that accept a) monetary deposits from consumers (i.e., custodial wallets, blockchain exchanges, banks, gambling industry etc.) or b) fungible obligations and report claims from users (i.e., fake news and hate speech reporting, disapproval voting etc.) to prove their total amount of liabilities or obligations without compromising the privacy of both users’ identity and individual amounts.”

He gave an example of the Enron corporation scandal case which ran bankrupt and collapsed some years back after the company in an attempt to cover up its illegal dealings paid an auditor Arthur Andersen to tamper with the information. He added that the corporation’s downfall would have been avoided had it adopted a more private and transparent auditing process.

Full Transparency For Everyone

DAPOL has proved to be an improvement from old distributed auditing processes in that it comes with new features. One of the features is that it allows everyone to take part in processes like proof verification and offers a more sophisticated validation tool than was not offered before. Calibra’s team is not fully sure but is quite optimistic that DAPOL can be integrated onto Facebook’s Libra project to have an impact on such domains as economic data, crypto blockchain wallets, and public health.

The team is open to inviting any player that shares the same development enthusiasm on DAPOL’S project as them. This is after they released their plans to make the code open-source soon. It is their hope that with time this new DAPOL distributed audit process will be adopted widely by crypto firms globally.

“The backbone of this proposal is based on the enhanced Maxwell’s Merkle-tree construction and is extended using balance splitting tricks, efficient padding, verifiable random functions, deterministic key derivation functions, and the range proof techniques from Provisions and ZeroLedge solvency protocols, respectively.

Because Bulletproofs, Gro16, Ligero, Plonk, Halo and other efficient zkSNARK or zkSTARK constructions were not available or mature when the above solvency protocols were published, we will assume that any efficient zero knowledge scheme for set membership in summation structures can be a good candidate.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Libra to Become a Reality in India? Facebook Invests $5.7 Billion in Jio Platform

In its biggest deal since WhatsApp, Facebook Inc. will invest $5.7 billion in Jio Platforms. The Tech giant will buy about 10% of the digital assets controlled by Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani to become the largest minority shareholders in the company.

This is the US company’s attempt to gain a broader foothold in WhatsApp’s biggest global market and connect the platform with e-commerce venture JioMart, which would rival Amazon and Walmart in the country.

Jio Platforms of Reliance Industries brings Jio’s digital apps, ecosystems, and wireless platform together under one umbrella. This partnership will allow Facebook to expand in India which is rapidly embracing online payment and e-commerce. Zuckerberg said in a Facebook video,

“India is a special place for us.”

“We’re also committing to work together on some critical projects that we think are going to open up a lot of opportunities for commerce in India.”

The companies will start working with Indian regulators to seek approval now that the deal is formally announced. Back in 2019, Facebook ran into opposition from Indian regulators when it tried to launch a payments feature inside WhatsApp regarding encrypted content regulation.

India Supports Tech-Issued Digital Currency

Facebook has about 250 million users in India while Whatsapp has more than 400 million. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also been aiming to introduce a digital currency in the country.

Zuckerberg has long been looking at the market for his so-called cryptocurrency project, Libra. Now, this big step might aid him in finally introducing his stablecoin to the South Asian country’s half a billion internet users.

The good thing for the tech giant is unlike the developed markets, emerging markets have confidence in tech-issued digital currency.

Developed-Markets
Source: OMFIF Report

Recently, the Supreme Court of India also lifted the restrictions put by the Reserve Bank of India on banks and financial institutions that prevented them from providing services to crypto exchanges and businesses.

India’s crypto community is welcoming this new partnership as Nischal Shetty, founder of Binance acquired crypto exchange WazirX said,

“Clear signs of Crypto emerging as a popular technology in India. Facebook investing $5.7B in Jio is great news for Indian Crypto ecosystem. FB has Libra. Jio has been working on Blockchain Crypto tech. Libra may become a reality in India.”

CryptoKanoon
Source: cryptokanoon

Facebook has also been making changes to the whitepaper of Libra as it continues to run into regulatory hurdles. Last week, the Libra Association announced that the stablecoin will be backed by individual national currencies.

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Author: AnTy

Scammers Used Janet Jackson’s Billionaire Ex In Crypto Ads; He’s Now Suing Facebook

Wissam Al Mana, the Qatari billionaire who has been married to Janet Jackson, is suing Facebook for promoting a crypto scam that used his image.

He claims false advertising, malicious falsehood and defamation by a crypto firm that hasn’t been named yet. The defamation action was filed in Dublin, where the European headquarters for Facebook is. Such cases’ legal framework is more amenable for plaintiffs in Ireland.

Facebook Accused of Hiding Behind the 1st Amendment in the US

According to Paul Tweed, a Belfast-based defamation attorney and Al Mana’s lawyer, defamation cases have a better chance of being successful in Europe, since Facebook supposedly hides behind the 1st Amendment in the US, evading this way the responsibility to protect its users.

Al Mana doesn’t want to give any interviews, so the public information about his case was revealed on wissamalmana.com, which is his personal website. Here, he mentioned that he doesn’t have any social media accounts so profiles linked to his name don’t provide accurate information.

Al Mana is Worth 1 Billion Euro

Owning the exclusive regional rights to well-known brands like Hermes, McDonald’s Qatar franchise, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga and Harvey Nichols, Al Mana is worth 1 billion euros. His marriage with Janet Jackson lasted from 2012 to 2017. Tweed also represented Ismail Omar Guelleh, the Djibouti President, Nicolas Cage, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake, Harrison Ford and Jessica Biel.

Many Stars’ Image Illegally Used in Crypto Campaigns

In the fall of 2019, a Bitcoin (BTC) investment platform used false testimonies from Kate Winslet, the famous actress, while saying it’s backed by Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Richard Branson.

As far as the stars scammed by crypto schemes, these are Floyd Mayweather and Dj Khaled. Dj Khaled helped with the promotion of Centra Tech’s initial coin offering. Centra Tech’s co-founders were after indicted and charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with wire and securities fraud.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Block.One’s Beta Launch Of EOS Based Social Network Voice Raises Privacy Alarms

  • Block.one’s Facebook asking for tons of personal data to jo Voice beta
  • More concerning than privacy alarms is the use of data to collect debts & help law enforcement – Weiss Crypto Ratings

Recently, EOS launched the beta of its social network, “block.one’s Facebook” Voice. But the launch raises many concerns, one of them being exactly the one that the social media giant Facebook was criticized about, the same company EOS is challenging with Voice.

In order to join the beta of Voice, the interested participants have to submit their home address, personal photos, and government identification.

This Weiss Crypto Ratings says raises “privacy alarms” but “even more concerning, service tasked with verifying this information may use it to collect debts & help law enforcement.”

“First EOS, now this. Apparently, these guys don’t even believe in decentralization. What are they doing in this industry?” commented Weiss Crypto Ratings.

Change of Plans

Back in June Block.One, the company behind the largest initial coin offering (ICO) in history announced Voice, a new kind of social network that verifies the identity of every single account and has a native cryptocurrency, that’s to be launched on the EOS mainnet.

However, recently it was revealed the plans have changed. The frequently asked questions on the Voice website states the new application would run on a private deployment of EOSIO software and there might be no chance of it running on EOS ever. The FAQ reads,

“While Voice is in beta and a highly iterative state, it will be run on a purpose-made EOSIO blockchain. In time, we would like Voice to leverage the EOS Public Blockchain, and potentially others that can meet the performance and governance demands of Voice.”

It’s worth noting that in the past, EOS had performance issues, just a few months back, a dapp EIDOS clogged the network, that could be a potential reason behind this decision.

Moreover, crypto exchange Binance stated in its latest research that the delegated Proof of Stake consensus network is “victim of its governance, where the largest EOS holders further consolidate their position and hold all the power.”

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Author: AnTy

Block.One’s ‘Voice’ Social Network Has An Open Door Policy To Other Blockchains, Not Just EOS

During its June ICO, Block.one had indicated that its Facebook rivaling social network dubbed Voice, would be launched on the EOS network. However, plans seems to have changed as CoinDesk reports.

Voice has been touted as a different form of social media network which will have in-built crypto and have the capacity to deal with bots since each account will be verified. However, after the announcement in June, the firm went mum but in Dec, it announced that Voice will be launched on Feb. 14.

The announcement came with additional information like a FAQ page found on the Voice website which indicated that a private EOSIO software will be used to run the application. However, the firm was non-committal on whether Voice will be run on EOS saying that other blockchain networks can also be used.

The statement in the FAQ is contrary to a press statement made in June which indicated that the social network would run exclusively on EOS. Still in June, to indicate its commitment to run on EOS, Block.one had reserved a large space of RAM within the mainnet.

Asked to comment on the latest developments, Block.one spokesperson turned down the request.

It is important to understand that Block.one mostly develops software but they are mostly run by other firms. For instance, while it developed EOSIO software, it was launched by a group of organizations from different parts of the world to what is today known as EOS.

Despite the eminent uncertainty, the CEO of EOS Dublin, Sharif Bouktila, remains bullish that Block.one will use the EOSIO for Voice. He explained that if Block.one fails run its apps on the EOS it would raise eyebrows in the industry as who else is better suited to use the blockchain. He said,

“There hasn’t been a decision that I can see but if Block.one didn’t need to use the EOS mainnet for its apps it would raise serious questions as to why and who else should use it.”

EOS has been in the news for the wrong reasons in the recent past due to performance issues. There have been allegations companies running on EOS prioritize speculative profits rather than the technology. The revelation of EIDOS smart contract that paid users for the number of transactions made is just one of the many. These could be the reasons why Block.one is considering other blockchains.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Facebook Pay Launch WIll Unifying Instagram, Messenger, & WhatsApp Payment Services; Segue For Libra?

  • Facebook Pay will initially launch in the United States for the Facebook platform specifically, launching in other countries and platforms at a later date.
  • Calibra will not yet be added into the new payment option.

Facebook is one of the biggest social media platforms in the world, and they have recently announced a payment product that they are bringing to the finance industry called Facebook Pay. Facebook Pay will allow consumers to use a simple and easy to understand process to pay for any purchase on Facebook with a single payment method. This protocol will be available on the other social media platforms attached to Facebook Pay, including Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Before Facebook Pay, users on the platforms would need to use a credit card, debit card, or PayPal account for any marketplace purchase. New purchases would require users to input their payment method with each time, and the clarity over what goods and services were available on Facebook was lacking.

As Facebook Pay launches, these payment methods will be stored on the user’s accounts, and the program will keep a payment history. Consumers that have difficulties have the ability to get support through live chats with US-based agents. Payment methods supported by Facebook Pay include most major debit and credit cards, along with PayPal.

The anti-fraud security systems that Facebook already has in place will be used for blocking unauthorized activity taking place. The users will be able to protect their data with biometrics and a PIN, which will be classified by users so that no one can access the stored information without the consent of the user, even Facebook.

Later this week, Facebook Pay will go live with the main platform and Messenger. At the beginning, consumers will be able to use the payment options for “fundraisers, in-game purchases, event tickets, person-to-person payments on Messenger and purchases from select Pages and businesses on Facebook Marketplace.”

Once the launch of Facebook Pay commences in the United States, the social media brand will be providing it to other countries and social media platforms. However, there has yet to be a timeline established. In the announcement regarding this launch, Facebook was clear that the crypto-based Calibra wallet is entirely separate.

The whitepaper of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency asset was released earlier this year, projecting a release date in mid-2020. While this type of stablecoin could be a beneficial addition for Facebook Pay at some point, many countries have already issued bans on it. Still, testing out the use of Facebook Pay could give the platform more experience with digital payments.

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Author: Krystle M

Launch A Real-Time Payments System Before Libra, FTC Commissioner Tells Federal Reserve

According to FTC Commissioner, the impending Facebook led Libra project should be reason enough for the US Federal Reserve to develop its own instantaneous payments system, CoinDesk reports.

Rohit Chopra, a sitting commissioner of the US Federal Trade Commission, in a letter to the Federal Reserve’s board, expressed his support for the recently mooted FedNow Service which is said to be an instantaneous payment system that will operate 24/7.

In the letter, Chopra urged the Fed to move with speed and implement the proposal before other private systems like Libra are launched. Chopra joined the bandwagon of senior government officials who have reservations about Libra. The commissioner alluded that Facebook is trying to become a shadow worldwide central bank and this should not be taken lightly by the regulators. He explained that the oversight role of the Fed was at danger if the project is allowed to launch in its current form where details are still scanty.

Chopra stated that he was supporting the stands taken by both the Fed chair and the governor on Libra who have argued that the crypto project poses risks to the global financial sector.

The Commissioner opined that coming up with a payments system that is controlled by a government agency like the Fed was the best option. He explained that without considering whether or not the Libra project will take off or not, the intervention by the Fed with the FedNow Service was timely.

The FTC commissioner explained that the market was ready for instantaneous payment solutions citing the frustrations brought about by the high banking fees. He added that the current real-time technologies are spreading at a fast rate and it was time the Fed took advantage of the market dynamics.

According to Cointelegraph, the Federal Reserve has been working on the FedNow platform since last year but the details are still scanty as the public came to know about it in August this year. The project is expected to be launched in 2024 and it is unclear whether it will be built on blockchain technology.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Finco Services Sues Facebook and Calibra For Libra Logo Trademark Infringement

The problems that Facebook has related to its upcoming Libra stablecoin simply do not stop. Finco Services of Delaware has filed a lawsuit against the popular social media company and it’s subsidiary Calibra in New York, related to the logo of the Libra project.

According to the reports, Facebook is being sued for reusing a design that already belonged to another party. Finco Services affirms that Facebook infringed trademark rules, and has engaged in unfair competition and used the logo illegally.

Basically, in 2016 a company called Character SF was hired by Finco Services to design a logo for a brand. The logo that was designed was basically the same one that is being used by Libra right now.

While it is unclear why Facebook is using the same logo as the company, Finco affirms that it’s logo is registered with the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office and that it can prove that it had the logo way before Facebook ever thought about creating it’s crypto asset.

As soon as the people at Finco discovered that the logo was nearly identical, they contacted Calibra, which simply ignored them. Now, they are trying to convince the court that their logo was copied.

The case could go either way as the two logos are very similar, but not necessarily identical. Because of this, it is still way too early to speculate on which company is going to win in court. The only certainty is that Facebook is having a lot of problems recently.

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Author: Silvia A