Facebook's ambitions to enter the cryptocurrency market and plans to launch its own token can lead to a multi-billion dollar revenue growth in a few years, an expert forecasts. Facebook Coin will help the social network to diversify its sources of income.

Barclays internet analyst Ross Sandler suggested that the launch of its own cryptocurrency focused on peer-to-peer micropayments could help Facebook to get a completely new source of income. Sandler predicts that, according to a conservative forecast, Facebook's revenue may grow by $3 billion, and according to a positive forecast, by $19 billion by 2021 thanks to the successful implementation of its own cryptocurrency.

“Merely establishing this revenue stream starts to change the story for Facebook shares in our view,” Sandler wrote in his letter to investors.

Currently, Facebook receives its main income from advertising. In 2017, Facebook revenues amounted to $40.6 billion, $39.9 billion of which came from advertisements.

The current business model of Facebook was criticized by users, politicians, and advertisers in the past year due to scandals related to the transfer of personal data to third parties. Thus, the British consulting company Cambridge Analytica obtained personal information of more than 50 million Facebook users without their permission.

According to Bloomberg and The New York Times, Facebook is developing a cryptocurrency for cross-border payments. It is reportedly planned to be a stable coin pegged to traditional fiat currencies and is scheduled to arrive at the market through the WhatsApp messenger. Facebook did not publicly comment on this information.

Sandler recalled that this is not the first attempt by the social network to enter the payments market. In 2010, the California-based Menlo Park created a certain analogue of the digital currency called Facebook credits, which was distributed on an advance payment and cost about 10 cents for 1 loan. After the acquisition, users could use credits for mutual settlements, purchase goods and services, and make micropayments.

“Based on our checks, the first version of Facebook Coin may be a single purpose coin for micro-payments and domestic p2p money transfer (in-country), very similar to the original credits from 2010 and Venmo today,” Sandler said.

Sandler identifies two main problems that Facebook may face on its way to successful implementation of cryptocurrency: Facebook needs to demonstrate a value proposition for users “above what is available today in payments” and build trust after its laundry list of issues in 2018.