Facebook hires UK Standard Chartered lobbyist ahead of digital currency launch
Facebook has recruited a UK banking lobbyist in its latest push to launch a new cryptocurrency next year.
Ed Bowles, a veteran executive at Standard Chartered, will join the social media network in September as its London-based director of foreign policy.
He is expected to help Facebook implement its cryptocurrency strategy, which will unveiled on Tuesday, the Financial Times reported.
Mr Bowles worked at Standard Chartered for over 12 years and was part of the European Commission’s transatlantic trade and investment partnership group, in charge of negotiating trade deals between the US and Europe.
Mr Bowles is the most prominent hire for Facebook in Europe since it recruited former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg to head its global public policy operations last year.
Standard Chartered and Facebook both declined to comment on the move.
Facebook has reportedly enlisted over a dozen fintech companies to back its foray into the crypto space; including PayPal, Mastercard, Uber and Visa, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
Facebook’s cryptocurrency, GlobalCoin, is set to launch by 2020 allowing its 2.4 billion users to change foreign currencies into digital coins and make payments anywhere in the world even if they don’t have a bank account.
At a developers conference earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, said that payments are one of the areas where the company could make things “a lot easier”.
“I believe it should be as easy to send money to someone as it is to send a photo,” he said.
The company wants to roll out its cryptocurrency globally, but plans to test it in India first.
The company is entering a volatile crypto market, where the most popular currency Bitcoin reached a 12-month high last month and was valued at $8,937.25, after crashing by 85pc in December in what critics labeled one of the ‘great bubbles of history’.
Although early indications suggest Facebook’s coin will not be similar to Bitcoin, the social network’s entry into the space may lend the industry some legitimacy.
Payments company Square, founded by Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, is also entering the crypto space after hiring Google executive Steve Lee earlier this week.