Facebook Inc. (FB) is making a bold move that stands to have vast implications across its business model and its user base via launching its cryptocurrency called Libra. Cryptocurrencies are still in a nascent stage in terms of adoption, acceptance, application, and full understanding of these virtual coins. The cryptocurrency market thus far has been speculative, volatile, and met with skepticism from users and governments alike. Despite the tumultuous albeit short history of cryptocurrencies, these alternative forms of currency have vast implications. These implications include potential disruption of central banks, destabilizing government-backed currencies, reshaping the financial transactions space (i.e., banks and credit cards) while displacing central database infrastructures via blockchain (i.e., banks, clearinghouses, credit card networks). Facebook’s Libra stands to address the unbanked (those without traditional bank accounts) segment of its user base in a major way. The President and Jerome Powell, along with many others in government have either voiced concerns or publically made clear that they’re not embracing this move by Facebook. Government officials are concerned about appropriate regulatory framework being in place considering the company’s past privacy scandals. Nonetheless, will this cryptocurrency bode well for Facebook moving forward?
What is Libra?
Libra will be dissimilar from Bitcoin in its underpinning blockchain technology and mining. Libra will not run on a decentralized disturbed blockchain ledger, and no mining of any additional coins will occur. The blockchain is permissioned and will be managed by the Libra Association, which is a membership organization that consists of 27 payment, technology, telecommunication, online marketplace, venture capital, and non-profits. Libra is planned to be launched sometime next year 2020. Libra will allegedly be backed by financial assets such as a basket of currencies and US Treasuries to circumvent volatility. Unlike Bitcoin, which isn’t backed by anything and can highly volatile, Libra’s value should be anchored and less variable. Each member of the Libra Association will add $10 million, so the cryptocurrency has full asset backing. The supply of Libra will expand and contract based on demand; if demand is high, then the association will purchase more of the underlying assets and create new Libra. If users want to cash out of the cryptocurrency, the association will pay them and destroy the equivalent amount of Libra. Continue reading "Libra - Facebook's Cryptocurrency Implications"