Understanding Facebook's Upcoming "LIBRA" Currency


1. What Facebook’s LIBRA Cryptocurrency is All About
2. How Big Could Libra Be, Or Will It Even Make It?
3. Major Issues With Protecting Identities & Privacy
4. Conclusions: Libra May Flop or Be Really Big


By now I’m sure you have at least heard something about the new “Libra” currency that Facebook plans to roll out in 2020. There are those who welcome the new currency and believe there’s a chance it could rival the US dollar in the future. Then there are those who oppose it and are convinced it will violate your identity and threaten your privacy. And, of course, there are lots of skeptics who believe the Libra won’t make it at all.

History is littered with new currencies that didn’t make it. It remains to be seen if the Libra is just another one of them, or if it could become the next major world currency. Today, I’ll tackle these issues and suggest how you may want to think about the Libra going forward. It can be complicated, but I’ll try to keep it simple.

What Facebook’s Upcoming LIBRA Cryptocurrency is All About

Libra is an as-yet theoretical new blockchain digital currency proposed by the American social media conglomerate Facebook. The project, currency and transactions are to be managed and entrusted to the Libra Association, a membership organization founded by Facebook’s Calibra subsidiary and 27 other big names spanning financial services, technology, telecommunications, the online marketplace, venture capital and nonprofits (more on the Libra Association below).

As of this writing, the proposed currency and network do not yet exist, and only rudimentary experimental code has been released. Facebook says the launch is planned for some time in 2020. Calibra/Libra is getting support from big hitters such as MasterCard, Visa, American Express, PayPal, eBay, Spotify, Uber and Lyft, just to name a few. If successful, the service will be available in Messenger and WhatsApp as well as in a stand-alone app.

In the initial announcement in June, Facebook said its hope with Calibra/Libra is to address a challenge that many people around the world face today: having access to basic financial services. According to Facebook:

"Almost half of the adults in the world don't have an active bank account, and those numbers are worse in developing countries and even worse for women. The cost of that exclusion is high for example, approximately 70 percent of small businesses in developing countries lack access to credit, and $25 billion is lost by migrants every year through remittance fees" [to send money to their home countries].