The Facebook social media logo. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Facebook plans to begin testing its "GlobalCoins" cryptocurrency by the end of this year, in anticipation of launching digital payments systems in nearly a dozen countries by 2020, BBC reports.

Catch up quick: Facebook's plans to develop a new cryptocurrency have reportedly involved allowing users to transfer money in WhatsApp, according to reporting on the company's strategy last year.

The impact, via Axios' Sara Fischer and Scott Rosenberg: If Facebook successfully deployed that system to the combined messaging platform it plans to build from WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger, it could establish a dominant cryptocurrency overnight — building an onramp to the new technology for millions the way AOL populated the internet in the '90s.

Flashback: Facebook tried to create a similar digital currency in 2009 — first used as a payment method for games — that petered out by 2011 due to a lack of public interest.

Go deeper: Facebook’s pivot is bigger than privacy

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Big Tech marshals a right-leaning army of allies for antitrust fight

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As tech's giants prepare to face off with antitrust enforcers this summer, they will draw support from an array of predominantly right-leaning defenders ranging from influential former government officials to well-connected think tanks.

The big picture: The Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the states have multiple investigations of monopolistic behavior underway targeting Facebook and Google, with other giants like Amazon and Apple also facing rising scrutiny. Many observers expect a lawsuit against Google to land this summer.

John Roberts' long game

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is not the revolutionary that conservative activists want him to be.

He moves slower than they want, sides with liberals more than they want, and trims his sails in ways they find maddening. But he is still deeply and unmistakably conservative, pulling the law to the right — at his own pace and in his own image.

1 hour ago - Health

The U.S.' new default coronavirus strategy: herd immunity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

By letting the coronavirus surge through the population with only minimal social distancing measures in place, the U.S. has accidentally become the world’s largest experiment in herd immunity.

Why it matters: Letting the virus spread while minimizing human loss is doable, in theory. But it requires very strict protections for vulnerable people, almost none of which the U.S. has established.