Facebook Launched a Cryptocurrency. Big Deal (Maybe?)

Maybe you heard Facebook created a global cryptocurrency, Libra, with plans to integrate it into Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram next year along with ATMs, private wallets, and a fully-backed reserve.

Like bitcoin for monopolists.

Whatever you may think about Libra or Facebook, you can’t deny this is a big deal. A global company is creating a whole new financial system around its own currency—independent of any sovereign government.

Everybody hates Facebook

Immediately, central bankers threw a fit, outraged U.S. politicians pledged hearings, and crypto twitter exploded. Some called Libra a sham, “not a real cryptocurrency,” a monopolistic power-grab, a threat to privacy, and all sorts of other horrible things.

If you want my take on the matter, read my most recent commentary for CCN, Facebook’s Crypto Libra is a Huge Deal – Just Not for the Reason you Think.

As you can tell, I’m excited about Libra—not because I love Facebook or its partners but because this initiative forces the world’s governments to finally think hard about cryptocurrency and the consequences of programmable money.

This is the very reason I wrote my book, Consensusland, and I’m super-excited to see regulators and politicians treat crypto as a real technology with huge implications for all of us.

Frankly, it’s long overdue.

Dig deeper into Libra

For more insights, watch some of the great YouTube content below. Yes, it’s hard to find good, informative YouTube videos but I did it.

Ready, Set, Crypto summarizes Facebook’s overall vision for Libra, Calibra, and the general framework for its new financial system:

Thinking Crypto delves a little deeper into legal and regulatory issues with crypto guru Caitlin Long:

The guys at Crypto101 podcast live-tweeted a really great conversation:

Of course, you can also read the Libra whitepaper. Or, enter “Facebook Libra” into a Google search.

We live in exciting times

Nobody knows how any of this will pan out. Facebook has some powerful backers and tremendous clout, but the road ahead is a tough one.

U.S. Congress already planned its first hearings for July 16 and you can expect lots more to come.

Other governments have taken their own steps to slow, halt, or pester Facebook as it moves forward. Many hurdles remain.

Also, don’t expect banks to roll over and let Facebook take away customer deposits and destroy 30 percent of their revenue (from fees for letting people send money to each other).

If you know anybody involved or interested in Facebook’s effort, please tell them about my book, Consensusland. It’ll help them understand what the fuss is all about—and they may even find the book a fun, entertaining read.

Also check out my post on CCN, above.

Meanwhile, relax and enjoy the ride. Facebook pushed the world’s “holy shit” button and now we get to watch the fireworks.

I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

Mark Helfman is a cryptocurrency commentator and author of Readers’ Favorite award-winning 5-star book Consensusland: A Cryptocurrency Utopia.

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