Insatiable Power Quest: Facebook Launching Its Own Money, Unveils Cryptocurrency #Libra

They took our freedom, mined, stole and sold our private data and messaging. Given Facebook’s repeated and ongoing violations of ethical obligations and user trust why in the world would anyone use this? Who would entrust those abusive fascists with our wallets? What benefit could it possibly the end user versus the risk of them doing something dodgy with that data or worse, giving them more power?

Cryptocurrency is often fraught with manipulation, instability and fraud. And now we’re to trust – FACEBOOK?!? It’s madness. Praying for failure.



By Jeff Horwitz and Parmy Olson, Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2019 4:04 pm ET

Facebook Inc. FB -0.29% formally announced plans to launch a cryptocurrency, a move that could diversify its business from advertising while claiming a larger role in its users’ financial lives.

The cryptocurrency, called Libra, will be a secure blockchain-based payment system backed by hard assets and designed for ordinary users—making it among the boldest efforts yet to bring digital currencies into mainstream use.

Facing continuing scrutiny of its privacy practices, Facebook said it is creating a regulated subsidiary, called Calibra, to ensure “the separation between social and financial data.” Calibra will roll out a crypto wallet—a digital app that can be used to pay for items online and send money—using Libra.

Facebook on Tuesday named a series of big, corporate partners—including financial-services heavyweights Mastercard Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc. and tech giants Uber Technologies Inc. and Spotify Technology SA—that it said would help it create a “secure, scalable and reliable” cryptocurrency. The Wall Street Journal reported in May that the initiative involved the creation of a “stablecoin”—a digital asset backed by a basket of global currencies or other investments—unlike other cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, whose values are susceptible to sharp fluctuation.

Facebook said Libra would be available by 2020 on its Messenger and WhatsApp services and as a stand-alone app. In a blog post early Tuesday morning, the company said one of the Libra network’s early goals would be to provide basic financial services to people around the world who lack bank accounts and to save some of the $25 billion “lost by migrants every year through remittance fees.”

The company has worked quietly on a blockchain-based payments system for more than a year, with the effort headed former PayPal President David Marcus. Facebook has large ambitions for the project and its use by the social platform’s 2.4 billion monthly active users. The company envisions Libra potentially being used to make everyday financial transactions like paying bills, making retail purchases and paying for public transport.

Early reactions from bank analysts covering Facebook were ecstatic, in part because the Libra project would help the company move away from a near-complete reliance on targeted advertising. Though wildly successful, that business model has exposed the company to criticism regarding its privacy practices and its handling of misinformation on public platforms. The company is also shifting toward more private communications, and payments would potentially provide a way to make money in those channels.

JPMorgan ’s Doug Anmuth said Libra would help Facebook diversify its sources of revenues beyond advertising “while also empowering billions of people.” In a note to clients after Facebook’s Libra disclosures, Royal Bank of Canada analysts Mark Mahaney and Zachary Schwartzman described the project as the foundation for fundamental changes to the digital consumer economy.

“In terms of scale and importance, we believe this new financial infrastructure could be viewed similar to Apple ’s introduction of iOS to developers over a decade ago,” they said.

Still, the potential advantages Facebook’s proposal might offer over more conventional means of digital payments aren’t yet clear.

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