Facebook takes wraps off Libra cryptocurrency

Callibra digital wallet
The Callibra digital wallet. Image: Facebook

Social network finally reveals blockchain plan

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18 June 2019 | 0

Facebook has finally released a white paper outlining a vision for its own cryptocurrecy: Libra. The currency will be backed by a Switzerland-based consortium, The Libra Foundation, whose members include Mastercard, PayPal, Vodafone, Visa, Coinbase, eBay, Uber and Stripe.

It hd been speculated that Facebook would introduce a cryptocurrency of its own for use on the social network and its other platform, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram.

Lory Kehoe, co-founder of Blockchain Ireland and MD of ConsenSys Ireland, the countries largest blockchain team said: “The huge array of top global players in traditional finance and new tech subscribing to the network, is a massive endorsement of distributed ledger technology. And demonstrates a significant frontier in terms of mass accessibility and adoption of decentralised technology.

“The proliferation of blockchain technology and emergence cryptocurrencies as an increasingly distinguished asset class, is a core pillar of the fourth industrial revolution, and as such has led governments, corporates and individuals to enthusiastically explore the potential of peer-to-peer frameworks.”

Rosie Burbidge, partner at gunnercooke and blockchain specialist, said: “This has been in the pipeline for a while and it fits in with Facebook’s longer term strategy to move into areas like retail and traditional media (in addition to social media). An important feature of Facebook’s Libra currency is that it is pegged to fiat currencies. So while Bitcoin has suffered from massive currency fluctuations, Facebook’s approach should avoid those ups and downs.”

Libra is expected to go live to the public next year.

Calibra

Facebook also announced plans for a digital wallet, Calibra, for release in 2020.

“From the beginning, Calibra will let you send Libra to almost anyone with a smartphone, as easily and instantly as you might send a text message and at low to no cost,” said a post on a company blog. “And, in time, we hope to offer additional services for people and businesses, like paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.

“Aside from limited cases, Calibra will not share account information or financial data with Facebook or any third party without customer consent. This means Calibra customers’ account information and financial data will not be used to improve ad targeting on the Facebook family of products.

“The limited cases where this data may be shared reflect our need to keep people safe, comply with the law and provide basic functionality to the people who use Calibra. Calibra will use Facebook data to comply with the law, secure customers’ accounts, mitigate risk and prevent criminal activity.”

David Marcus, head of Calibra at Facebook, said: “Libra holds the potential to provide billions of people around the world with access to a more inclusive, more open financial ecosystem. We look forward to participating in the Libra network as a founding member, as well as through providing our community with access to Libra through Calibra.

“We know the journey is just beginning, but together we can achieve Libra’s mission to create a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that will empower billions of people.”

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