15.01.2021

Facebook Buys Chatbot Startup Servicefriend to Integrate Into Calibra

A Sept. 19 article by Israeli business newspaper the Marker reported that Facebook has acquired startup Servicefriends in order to build a messaging bot for customer service for Calibra.

Facebook has acquired the artificial intelligence-based chat-bot startup Servicefriend for customer service for Calibra, the digital wallet for Facebook’s planned Libra cryptocurrency.

AI chatbots for Calibra’s customer service

Announcing Libra and Calibra, Facebook said that it wanted to reach unbanked consumers and give them access to financial services and to make Calibra available through a specially created app and via its WhatsApp and Messenger platforms.

Servicefriend provides artificial intelligence-powered messaging bots that supposedly can mimic the intelligence, comprehension and empathy of a human to such a degree that customers won’t realize they are interacting with a bot. Its website says:

“We are thrilled to share that Servicefriend is now moving to the next chapter of our exciting journey. Over the past four years, we managed to standout and build a great platform for brands to deliver excellent experiences at scale over WhatsApp and Messenger. Our mission to transform the way business interact with people and to let people communicate with businesses as they do with their friends has always been our raison d’etre.”

Calibra will not be available in its largest markets

Cointelegraph previously reported that Facebook’s Calibra digital wallet, which can be used to store its Libra crypto coin, will not be available in some of the social network’s largest markets, including India. A spokesman said at the time:

“The libra blockchain will be global, but it will be up to custodial wallet providers to determine where they will and will not operate. Calibra won’t be available in U.S.-sanctioned countries or countries that ban cryptocurrencies.”

IBM Says It’s Open to Working With Facebook on Libra Crypto

Technology behemoth International Business Machines (IBM) is open to working with Facebook on its Libra stablecoin, CNBC reported on Sept. 23.

IBM’s general manager of blockchain services Jason Kelley said that the company is looking to spur collaboration in the space, noting that “blockchain is a team sport.” He also highlighted the firm’s openness to the idea of collaborating with Facebook:

“Our clients are ready to work with [Facebook] and we’re ready to work with all of them to bring it together.”

Tokenization, not cryptocurrencies

IBM has created its own blockchain, which the company claims enables greater “transparency around everything from banking to supply chain management.”

Kelly did not say whether the firm was interested in joining the Libra Association. Though he did acknowledge that Facebook’s entry in the industry helps boosts its legitimacy.

Nevertheless, he did distance himself from cryptocurrencies, focusing on tokenization instead, which allows digitizing any asset, including fiat currencies or stocks. He said:

“We talk about Libra and people say it’s just another crypto. […] Set crypto aside and talk about tokenization, because that’s what we’re talking about.”

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, Facebook has acquired the AI-based chat-bot startup Servicefriend for customer service for Calibra, the digital wallet for Facebook’s planned Libra cryptocurrency.

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