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Facebook set to unveil details of new cryptocurrency

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Facebook is set today to unveil a bid to bring cryptocurrency payments into the mainstream.

The world's biggest social network is expected to outline details of a virtual currency launching next year that it hopes will avoid the roller coaster volatility of "blockchain" technologies such as bitcoin.

Facebook is setting up a consortium called Libra, which, according to the Wall Street Journal, has been joined by more than a dozen companies including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Uber.

The companies, along with venture capitalists and telecommunications firms, will reportedly invest around US$10 million (S$14 million) each into the consortium.

The consortium will be managed externally and will seek to build trust among consumers by pegging the virtual coin to a basket of currencies including the dollar and euro, the Journal said.

Facebook has already sought blessings from the US Treasury and the Bank of England, the BBC reported last month.

With more than two billion users across its platforms, which include WhatsApp and Instagram, Facebook could have the clout to bring cryptocurrency out of the fringes and emulate the likes of WeChat in China, where the US site is banned.