Facebook chooses London for WhatsApp payments push

Facebook chooses London for WhatsApp payments push

Facebook has chosen London as the base for a new team dedicated to bringing payments to its WhatsApp messaging service.

Having trialled P2P payments in India, WhatsApp plans to begin rolling out the feature in several countries over the next year, Mark Zuckerberg confirmed last week.

"Payments is one of the areas where we have an opportunity to make it a lot easier. I believe it should be as easy to send money to someone as it is to send a photo," the Facebook CEO said at the firm's developer conference.

According to the Financial Times, WhatsApp will add 100 employees to its 400-strong workforce to help develop the payments functionality as well as address safety and spam issues.

Most of the workers will be based in London, with others in Dublin. London was picked, says the FT, because of its attraction - despite Brexit - for a multicultural workforce, particularly from countries, such as India, where WhatsApp is most popular.

Facebook is also working on a stablecoin that would be pegged to major international currencies and used to send payments across the social media giant's messaging apps - WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram.

The project is the domain of a blockchain unit set up last year which has been given the freedom to operate as a startup under the leadership of former PayPal president and Coinbase board member David Marcus. Many of the people Marcus has brought into the unit are PayPal vets.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is planning to launch a full payments network and in discussions with Visa and Mastercard, payments processors such as giant First Data as well as large e-commerce merchants to support the launch. It has also held talks with major banks over raising $1 billion to bolster the coin against major currency fluctuations.

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