Facebook Targets Bitcoin with New Cryptocurrency

Facebook today announced a new Calibra subsidiary that will provide a new cryptocurrency and financial infrastructure called Libra.

“Calibra will let you send Libra to almost anyone with a smartphone, as easily and instantly as you might send a text message and at low to no cost,” a new Facebook post explains. “And, in time, we hope to offer additional services for people and businesses, like paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.”

Calibra’s initial offerings will be a bit more modest, however, and will include the Libra blockchain-powered cryptocurrency and a digital wallet that will be available in Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and as a standalone app.

The goal, Facebook says, is to provide people around the world with a simple, secure way to save, send, and spend money.

“For many people around the world, even basic financial services are still out of reach: 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,” Facebook continues. “The cost of that exclusion is high — 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.”

The success of Calibra and its Libra cryptocurrency is not assured, of course. Facebook faces regulatory pressures from around the globe thanks to its monopoly power in social networking. And it is entering a market that is today dominated by Bitcoin.

But Libra has a few advantages over Bitcoin, which has proven to be a volatile currency. Libra is backed by governmental currencies like the U.S. Dollar and the Euro, so it should suffer from the wild value fluctuations that Bitcoin has experienced. It requires that anyone utilizing the currency prove their identity using government identification, which should help reduce abuse. And it has already amassed important financial partners like eBay, PayPal, and Visa, each of which will invest at least $10 million in the effort. Facebook expects to have at least 100 partners on board by the time Libra launches.

On that note, Facebook expects Libra to go live in the first half of 2020.

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Conversation 32 comments

  • Divodd

    Premium Member
    18 June, 2019 - 8:42 am

    <p>It is still, at the end of the day, a monetary system run by Mark Zuckerberg, and that is an extremely chilling thought in my book</p>

  • red.radar

    Premium Member
    18 June, 2019 - 8:46 am

    <p>This gives me chills. It has the potential to be very successful and disruptive. However it puts way to much power under the control of a company with questionable ethics and issues with trust. </p><p><br></p><p>not to mention moving currency out of the control of central banks which are, in theory, accountable to our government and puts control under one company accountable only to shareholders </p><p><br></p><p>Dont exactly look forward to Facebook mining my financial transaction data … big pass from me..</p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    18 June, 2019 - 9:12 am

    <p>Great idea, name it after a failed GM model.</p>

  • robotraccoon

    Premium Member
    18 June, 2019 - 9:17 am

    <p>Yeah, that's gonna be a NO for me, dawg.</p>

  • Newtronic

    Premium Member
    18 June, 2019 - 9:19 am

    <p>Slight but important edit: "…<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">so it should suffer from the wild value fluctuations that Bitcoin has experienced…" should have a NOT in it.</span></p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      18 June, 2019 - 9:33 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#435981">In reply to Newtronic:</a></em></blockquote><p>I think Paul is letting his hopes run away with him. ;-)</p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    18 June, 2019 - 9:31 am

    <p><em> buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass</em></p><p>I can already buy coffee (or whatever) with my banking app and when I used to take the train, the DB (German Rail) app would show the conductor a QR Code with my ticket information…</p><p><em>The goal, Facebook says, is to provide Facebook with people around the world's transaction history.</em></p><p>There, fixed that sentence for you.</p><p><em>“For many people around the world, even basic financial services are still out of reach: 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,”</em></p><p>Which aren't really the sort of people travelling on the metro and buying coffee at Starbucks… :-S</p><p><em>The success of Calibra and its Libra cryptocurrency is not assured, of course. Facebook faces regulatory pressures from around the globe thanks to its monopoly power in social networking.</em></p><p>They will need to register as a certified bank (and provide the necessary securities) in Europe, at least. Also, in many countries, the currency must be freely convertible into local legal tender.</p>

  • Chris_Kez

    Premium Member
    18 June, 2019 - 9:39 am

    <p><br></p><p><img src="http://i.imgur.com/dUxGBCG.jpg"></p&gt;

  • Jeff.Bane

    18 June, 2019 - 9:42 am

    <p>Facebook currency. Under no circumstances, thank you.</p>

  • Tony Barrett

    18 June, 2019 - 9:55 am

    <p>Please god no. Facebook currency, FB bank. Shudder. This is the company who literally have the worst data protection record of any major company, who data mine everything they can get, and are even prepared to <em>pay </em>people to have access to all their data. How Zuckerberg can even think this is a good idea I don't know. Steer clear, well clear.</p>

  • james_wilson

    18 June, 2019 - 9:58 am

    <p>The problem with cryptocurrency is the entry and exit points into 'real' currency. The only real way for cryptocurency to work is for the currency to be earned (Bitcoin used mining) and for it then to be able to be spent – with no desire to exchange it into another currency. Until then – it will be used for speculation.</p>

  • B Mallon

    18 June, 2019 - 10:43 am

    <p>1) Facebook's Libra will be competing against at least 5 other established mobile payment services, like M-Pesa, in developing countries. </p><p>2) Will anyone really trust Facebook to handle their money given how they have handled people's personal information?</p><p>3) Their message of helping those in developing countries get access to monetary services sounds hollow and disingenuous. </p><p><br></p><p>C'mon, we all know it's a cash grab….</p><p><br></p>

    • Andi

      18 June, 2019 - 1:36 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#436002">In reply to bmallon000:</a></em></blockquote><ol><li>Facebook is certainly capable of a better service than M-Pesa.</li><li>Why not? Facebook data is encrypted and no one has access to it. Facebook does not sell user data and only shares in strict conditions and with the users' permission.</li><li>Everything is a cash grab. Apple Pay for instance is a shameless one as Apple is forcing itself into a middle man position without having contributed nothing to the contact-less payment standards.</li></ol>

  • Stooks

    18 June, 2019 - 10:44 am

    <p>Please fail and fail hard.</p>

  • Thom77

    18 June, 2019 - 11:29 am

    <p><em>"I'm sorry, you transaction didn't go through. It says here that your Facebook account has been suspended because you said something true in one of your posts"</em></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

    • skane2600

      19 June, 2019 - 12:58 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#436010">In reply to Thom77:</a></em></blockquote><p>Any real examples of people being suspended for saying something true? Most of the well-known cases of suspensions seem to be quite appropriate and perhaps deserving a permanent ban. </p>

  • jimchamplin

    Premium Member
    18 June, 2019 - 11:59 am

    <p>So is Zucko’s plan to simply become a government? I think we can do better than his shifty, untrustworthy, crappy version of the Federation.</p><p><br></p><p>Facebook would be more like the Galactic Empire from Star Wars. Before we know it, we’re going to have Stormtroopers with blue F logos on their armor. You know? To make sure we’re all safe and in the view of the cameras at all times. </p><p><br></p><p>Then em they launch the “Privacy Star.” Named by PR, it’s an armored battle station with enough power to surveil an entire planet. </p>

    • christian.hvid

      18 June, 2019 - 12:32 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#436015">In reply to jimchamplin:</a></em></blockquote><p>Corporations are the new nations, right? Of course Zuck's dreaming about being the leader of a nation with two billion citizens – that would put him ahead of China even.</p>

  • harrymyhre

    Premium Member
    18 June, 2019 - 12:23 pm

    <p>No way no how am I interested , but thanks for warning us Paul. </p>

  • christian.hvid

    18 June, 2019 - 12:30 pm

    <p>Every currency on the planet is essentially backed by the same commodity: trust. </p><p>It occurs to me that Facebook is a little short in that department, eh?</p>

  • codymesh

    18 June, 2019 - 1:27 pm

    <p>just how lost is this company right now?</p>

  • nbplopes

    18 June, 2019 - 1:33 pm

    <p>Facebook has not yet understood that lacks credibility.</p><p><br></p><p>They seam to be looking for new ways to have used data in clear text. </p>

  • MacLiam

    Premium Member
    18 June, 2019 - 4:47 pm

    <p>Has anyone checked with the Winkelvoss twins to see how they feel about this? Z might want to double his investment in personal security services for the next few to several years.</p><p>I'm not as negative as others here on the prospects of the Libra service (or LIbra-like but under other management), but even with the inherent security of blockchain technology and requisite dunce-proofing at the user end I think a lot of careful design will be needed to keep it free of the criminals of the world who are undoubtedly already making plans to exploit it. </p>

  • ponsaelius

    18 June, 2019 - 5:50 pm

    <p>I think it's an interesting development. I think it's right that people think Facebook is the very opposite of privacy and has a cavalier attitude to personal data. The idea that Facebook would be someone's "bank" is quite scary. However, it seems to be a practical use for blockchain technology. It's easy to dismiss in the western world where we have reliable banking available. In the developing world Facebook may be seen as more reliable than their banks. </p>

  • waethorn

    18 June, 2019 - 6:37 pm

    <p>Libra, run by Libra Foundation, a who's who of Democrat-voting SJW NGO's and non-profits.</p><p><br></p><p>thelibrafoundation.org/grantees/</p><p><br></p>

    • skane2600

      18 June, 2019 - 8:38 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#436079">In reply to Waethorn:</a></em></blockquote><p>Organizations can vote now? I missed that.</p>

  • skane2600

    18 June, 2019 - 8:42 pm

    <p>I am a cryptocurrency skeptic so I'll avoid being a sucker regardless of who is running the scam.</p>

  • Salvador Jesús Romero Castellano

    19 June, 2019 - 5:32 am

    <p>Crypto enthusiasts use to say: "Trust the math, not organizations". This currency, at first glance, defies this axiom.</p><p>However, it can be a very convenient way for people to exchange money, and that can lead them to real cryptos. I hope they achieve some degree of success because of that.</p><p>I don't think I'll use it, though. Sending my ID to Facebook…</p>

  • skane2600

    19 June, 2019 - 1:03 pm

    <p>I'll bet Facebook's lawyers are nervous. If FB ended up being classified as a bank, things would get complicated.</p><p><br></p><p>I don't see how people who don't have access to a bank are going to have legitimate government identification. I think serving the poor is just the sales pitch, but this is really targeted to more affluent people.</p>

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    15 June, 2022 - 10:44 am

    <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">The problem with cryptocurrency is the entry and exit points into ‘real’ currency. You can check new cryptocurrencies at </span>https://cryptobasket.org/</p&gt;

  • eric23112

    15 June, 2022 - 10:54 am

    <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">https://cryptobasket.org/</span></p&gt;

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