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Facebook is looking into creating its own cryptocurrency, according to a report by news network Cheddar.

Unnamed sources familiar with the matter said Facebook was “very serious” about its consideration of building a decentralised digital currency, the site reported.

Cryptocurrencies are digital-only money designed to be secure and anonymous. There are more than 1500 different types of cryptocurrency — of which Bitcoin and Ethereum are the most famous.

Cryptocurrencies are made possible by a technology called blockchain, which provides an encrypted online ledger of transactions. Blockchain is becoming known for other applications such as enforcing digital contracts and securing public records.

Cheddar’s report follows an announcement from Facebook’s head of Messenger, David Marcus, who said on Tuesday that he planned to leave his position to explore uses of the blockchain at Facebook.

At the time, Marcus didn’t mention any possible applications for the blockchain.

But cryptocurrency insiders are speculating that Facebook’s interest in blockchain technology might have something to do with payments.

A former Facebook employee told Business Insider that Facebook might be interested in creating a digital currency that could be used as a system of payments on the site.

It’s thought that if Facebook offered a cryptocurrency, it could create a seamless payment platform on the site that could be accessible even by people who are “unbanked”.

A Facebook spokesman told Business Insider that the company was “exploring many different applications”.

“Like many other companies Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology”, the company said in a statement. “We don’t have anything further to share.”

 

This article first appeared on Business Insider Australia, Australia’s most popular business news website. Read the original article. Follow Business Insider on Facebook or Twitter.