7 Hot Takes On Facebook’s New Crypto “Libra”
Yesterday Facebook launched its highly anticipated Libra coin, potentially converting its 2.38 billion users worldwide into crypto users. But is Libra just a digital version of fiat currency? How will this impact the existing cryptocurrency industry? What are the pros and cons of big tech entering the space?
Roneil Rumburg, CEO and Co-Founder of Audius, a blockchain-based streaming music service:
“We believe this is very positive – Facebook will help legitimize our industry and bring it to their more mainstream audience. Despite all the negativity that has surrounded their efforts, we’re excited by the simple prospect of Facebook bringing its user base into the world of programmable money, easing the onboarding pain for crypto-native products like Audius. Worst case scenario, Facebook crypto could become the gateway drug to introduce people to the greater crypto ecosystem. Best case, their stablecoin is sufficiently decentralized to enable interesting censorship-resistant use cases and is still usable by a mainstream audience. In the worst scenario, we feel introducing more people to the benefits of decentralization is still net-positive for our entire ecosystem.”
Demetrios Skalkotos, Global Head of Ledger Vault, a multi-authorization cryptocurrency wallet management solution enabling financial institutions to build digital asset operations at speed and scale:
“The pros of Facebook finally getting into cryptocurrency outweigh the cons. On one hand, they’ve faced scrutiny over privacy concerns. But, when it comes to crypto, their global reach to billions of users will result in broader education and a better understanding of the benefits inherent to digital assets. More knowledge and stronger support infrastructure will result in cryptocurrency becoming more mainstream.”
Andy Bromberg, Co-Founder and President of CoinList, a platform where the best digital asset companies manage their token sales, airdrops and online hackathons:
“One of the cryptocurrency space’s core ideas is that of open markets. Right now, crypto is a positive-sum market and Facebook’s entry will increase the size of the pie — and then it will compete fairly with other assets for market share.
While Facebook has certainly had some issues, they’ve got a great team working on Libra. What’s happened in the past shouldn’t detract from every new product initiative.”
Akbar Thobhani, Co-Founder and CEO of SFOX, and institutional crypto prime dealer
“Facebook’s Project Libra is creating a consortium with the right companies to propel the crypto sector forward. Uber alone generated hundreds of millions of dollars in credit card processing fees last year, which gives them a compelling case for adopting lower-fee cryptocurrencies. The consortium of tech companies Facebook is assembling is also a signal that the future of banking is the tech industry, suggesting that legacy institutions had better adapt or else risk being left behind.
While Project Libra may not have an immediate impact on the average person, it may invite a new app economy, similar to what we saw when smartphones first came to market. Major financial and fintech institutions may contribute to this app economy as a way of innovating new ways for their products to interact with current and future customers. The biggest risk of this enterprise could be the role of the centralized gatekeeper: the future of crypto and finance lies in open solutions, and Facebook may risk alienating many users if they try to turn their crypto ecosystem into a walled garden. Notwithstanding this risk, the entire team at SFOX is very excited by the potential that this new coin can unlock for crypto and the future of finance.”
Jake Yocom-Piatt, co-founder and project lead of Decred, a community-directed digital currency designed to be a superior store of value:
“Libra goes against the central ideological underpinning of cryptocurrency — it’s not decentralized. Facebook has already garnered a reputation for questionable privacy practices. A trackable cryptocurrency from a ‘free’ network with a history of selling consumer data could just as easily track financial decision-making and sell it to third parties. On the bright side, in the long run, more crypto adoption is the best possible outcome from Facebook’s cryptocurrency. But once people experience the privacy downsides of Libra and realize there are decentralized alternatives, they will opt out of Libra.”
Alex Frenkel, VP of Product Management at Kin, a digital currency
“The white paper seems to indicate that Facebook won’t get a cut through transactions, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t stand to substantially profit. Their focus on international remittances and similarities to modern banking structures show that the Libra Association could earn big dividends on the interest.”
Danny Brown Wolf, Head of Partnerships and Strategy at Enterprise Blockchain Orbs:
“The much-anticipated Libra white paper will be critical to Facebook as an organization and perhaps even the future of the internet. The proposed system design of GlobalCoin will show us whether Zuckerberg and company will lead the revolution of trust-based ecosystems, or rather, cynically strip the innovation of blockchain tech to simply do more of the same: control and sell our data.
Public blockchains providing external, non-dependent, provably unbiased third-party verification are the technological infrastructure for using trust as a competitive tool. For a company like Facebook, competing on trust is a serious undertaking. Using blockchain the right way can be a game-changer allowing for new economic models based on trust with partners and users. Using it the wrong way may lead to a counter