Facebook offers $10,000 to anyone who can crack its cryptocurrency

Bug bounty program will allow any hacker to earn the reward

Facebook has offered $10,000 to any hacker able to find a flaw in its forthcoming Libra cryptocurrency.

The public bug bounty was announced in a blog post by Libra’s head of development, Michael Engle, who said the prize is designed to uncover any weaknesses in the cryptocurrency’s underlying blockchain before it launches next year.

“When we built the Libra blockchain, security was top of mind. If people are going to rely on Libra for their everyday financial needs, it is critical that the infrastructure behind it is dependable and safe,” he wrote.

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“Our rewards program is designed to encourage members of the security community to dig deep, helping us find even the most subtle bugs… Participants can receive up to $10,000 in rewards for discovering the most critical issues.”

Bug bounties are a common tactic employed by tech companies to find issues with their software before they can be exploited by hackers for malicious purposes. Facebook’s bug bounty program for its social network has paid out more than $7.5 million since it launched in 2011.

Facebook offers $10,000 to anyone who can crack its cryptocurrency

Facebook first unveiled Libra earlier this year, alongside 27 other companies. Among those firms are PayPal, Mastercard and Visa, which combined with Facebook’s huge reach could see the cryptocurrency achieve mainstream adoption.

With more than 2.5 billion users around the world of Facebook-owned apps like Instagram and WhatsApp, Libra could well surpass the reach of traditional cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

Before it can even compete with bitcoin, however, Libra will first need to overcome a number of regulatory challenges in Europe and the US.

Facebook offers $10,000 to anyone who can crack its cryptocurrency

With billions of users worldwide, Facebook has the power to bring cryptocurrency well and truly into the mainstream (iStock/The Independent)

Last month, US lawmakers called for an immediate halt to Libra’s development, with democrats on the House Financial Services Committee writing to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlining their concerns about Libra.

“If products and services like these are left improperly regulated and without sufficient oversight, they could pose systemic risks that endanger US and global financial stability,” the letter stated.

“These vulnerabilities could be exploited and obscured by bad actors, as other cryptocurrencies, exchanges, and wallets have been in the past.”

No release date has been announced for Libra, with the association behind it originally saying that it hoped to roll it out in the first half of 2020.

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