After the enormous scandals that have rocked Facebook recently, the mega-corporation made the obvious choice. They decided to keep their heads low, batten the down hatches, and do their best to keep on making bazillions without drawing too much attention to themselves. After all, they hit the jackpot already, and virtually have a licence to print money, why rock the boat by attempting any cockamamie schemes?
Did we say batten down the hatches? No, we’re kidding. Facebook said; ‘Cambridge Analytica scandal? That’s so last week.’ And decided that they would try and launch their own cryptocurrency. Because after all, when people barely trust them to handle private information anymore, why wouldn’t those same people hand over their money and let Facebook have a direct hand in managing it?
Yes, Facebook plan to launch their own cryptocurrency called Libra. It is set to go live in early 2020, and the concept is outrageously ambitious.
How Will It Work?
The idea with Libra is that it will work somewhat like PayPal. Users will be able to send cash to a digital wallet called Calibra, after which the standard currency becomes Facebook Bucks. Zuckerbucks. No, Libra, but they missed a gem not calling it Zuckerbucks. Right?
When your Libra is in the wallet, purchases can then be made, and transfers sent almost free of additional charges, and with the transfer occurring virtually instantaneously. What’s more, access to Libra, and the option to transfer it, will be available in extremely convenient locations. Such as in Facebook Messenger, or in WhatsApp. So, should you want to send money to a friend in a WhatsApp chat with as much ease as say, a GIF, you may.
Plans seem to be, although Facebook is being extremely vague about it, especially given how soon the project is supposed to launch, that Libra will be available worldwide. The first phase will see it function mostly as a glorified transfer wallet, but with plans to make it accessible in physical shops via a QR code system.
If we’re being absolutely honest, it sounds pretty cool. More to the point, it makes you wonder why currency isn’t this easy to manage already. Except, of course, for that whole money laundering and potential to use currency in all sorts of questionable ways, of course. Which brings us to the list of concerns, which happen to be as long as your arm.
There Are Problems
When President Trump takes the time to Tweet at you and tell you your plans are questionable, you know you’ve really made it in this world. Upon learning about the planned cryptocurrency launch, President Trump told Facebook that the potential for misuse is enormous, and that if Facebook wants to be a bank, it should register itself as a bank. Think what you will of Trump, he has a point. After all, what potential could there be to possibly misuse a currency as fluid as this? Except for massive money laundering potential, and the most convenient means to make illicit overseas purchases ever?
Facebook have stated that the operation will be managed by a non-profit subsidiary. Which is probably their way of swearing they’ll have nothing to do with it, so please don’t think Cambridge Analytica when you think Libra. They have also made clear that the transfers will use blockchain and hence be tamper proof. Although we should have learned by now that blockchain itself may be tamper proof, but the software systems at either end of it certainly aren’t. Google it if you don’t know what we’re talking about. Yes, it has been hacked.
Furthermore, they have insisted that transfers will be transparent, and so easy to trace in the case of illegal activity. No, your purchases won’t be made public otherwise. So don’t worry about your latest mass purchase of My Little Pony memorabilia appearing on your Facebook profile.
Will It Work?
So, will it work, and is it something you should be interested in? The answer to that question is a resounding maybe. You probably remember the Bitcoin craze, and have also probably stopped paying any attention to it. But a quick glance at the Bitcoin value chart will also tell an interesting story. Namely that there isn’t exactly much in the way of stability.
But Libra will have what Bitcoin did not, to try and ensure success. A massive, multi-billion dollar corporation backing it up. Plus, Facebook have also roped in numerous high profile partners, including globally established names like MasterCard. So, yes, it has the potential to work, and even seems likely that it will see at last some success.
On the other hand; Cambridge Analytica. A project this ambitious needs to see massive, wide scale adoption in order to operate. Frankly, we don’t know if people will trust Facebook enough to try their new currency, and we don’t blame them one little bit.