Hear me out: The “Facebook” cryptocurrency isn’t inherently the worst

Because, hey, it’s the first weekend of summer … Do Not Read Until Monday.

Hear me out: The “Facebook” cryptocurrency isn’t inherently the worst

Welp, they finally did it. After many indications it would, the “Facebook” cryptocurrency launched this week. It’s been christened “Libra”, and naturally left a wave of negative hot takes in its wake.

For example, my initial reaction was: “Calling this DOA overestimates its chances of success.”

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But after digging in a bit, Libra isn’t so bad of an idea. And, from the sounds of it, it will not be controlled by Facebook.

WTF is Libra lol

The initial pitch for Libra focused mostly on financial services accessibility. The currency can be used for payments to friends, or for products and services, but rather than just be money, it also wants facilitate easier, less costly banking. Specifically, it’s taking aim at high transaction fees, including overdrafts and ATM charges, as well as the hurdles that might prevent lower-income or remote individuals from maintaining a bank account.

Though there’s been some debate over whether it’s technically cryptocurrency, it’s certainly not like Bitcoin or Ethereum in many respects. For one, it’s aiming to avoid, say, dropping $100 billion in value in 24 hours. So it’s backed by “low-volatility assets, such as bank deposits and short-term government securities.” The interest on said assets will help offset the costs of running things, bringing down fees.

Another positive: it’s also not just Zuck behind the wheel here.

The Libra Association currently has 29 members, Facebook included – but also more vetted financial authorities like Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Stripe. Somewhat better-liked tech companies eBay, Lyft, Spotify and Uber will each have a seat at the table, as will a handful of VCs, non-profits, and blockchain organizations. And it aims to have 100 members by its 2020 launch.

In theory, Libra would be accepted for products and services of its members. If integrated into digital wallets like Apple Pay or Android Pay, it could be a quick success.

Now, about this Calibra

So, in tandem with the Libra news, Facebook also announced its digital wallet, Calibra. This will be integrated to Messenger and WhatsApp and allows Facebook to potentially better monetize transactions of the currency it helped create.

This may be the more contentious debut and is the more deserving recipient of the ire based on Facebook’s privacy woes. According to Facebook, Calibra account and financial data will not be shared with third parties without consent and will not be used for ad targeting. Its exceptions stated include in matters of safety, functionality or legal compliance.

With its privacy whiffs-tory, though, consumers will likely approach Calibra with some caution.

TL;DR: Here’s some astrology takes on Libra.

Odds + The End

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This was inevitable.

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