Facebook’s intended virtual Libra currency, is facing heavy attack from the US President Donald Trump and other global regulators of the cryptocurrency community.
Aside from the Brexit discussion, another topic that is making waves is the Libra currency. When the current authorities from London’s financial technology or FinTech industry gathered for their annual get-together: the future of virtual currencies was in view.
During the FinTech Week in London, the moderator asked, “Can I just ask you to raise your hand if you would not be willing to use Libra?” Two-thirds of participants raised their hand to express distrust at the Facebook invention.
Helen Disney, who is the founder and boss of Unblocked Events, which promotes the blockchain technology that powers many cryptocurrencies, said the problem lies on who will oversee and regulate Libra’s operation.
People are “concerned about how the governance… would work”, Disney told AFP.
“The cryptocurrency community is very libertarian in thinking,” its “about giving power to the people, the democratization of finance, keeping away from big banks and companies who control (the) economy,” she said
Last week’s gathering came one month after Facebook announced to the world its plans for the virtual currency. Libra, which is widely regarded as a challenger to dominant global player Bitcoin, is expected to launch in the first half of 2020.
Whereas Bitcoin is decentralized, Libra will be co-managed by 100 partner firms, including Facebook’s newly-minted financial services division Calibra.
Companies that have agreed to back Libra with real-world currencies include payment giants Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal, as well as taxi-hailing services Lyft and Uber.
To access Libra on smartphones, users will go through a virtual wallet that will also be named Calibra.
“Can’t wait for a cryptocurrency with the ethics of Uber, the censorship resistance of Paypal, and the centralization of Visa, all tied together under the proven privacy of Facebook,” said Sarah Jamie Lewis, head of non-profit research organization Open Privacy.
Libra has meanwhile raised eyebrows among the world’s financial regulators, including the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, and the US Federal Reserve.
Disney said that Libra will finally force regulators to present clear regulation guidelines, as demanded by the cryptocurrency community itself.
“We have been waiting for a long time for a clearer signal (regarding) the regulation of cryptocurrencies and digital assets,” she said.
But James Bennett, head of cryptocurrency research firm Bitassist, argues that Libra should not be seen in the same light as Bitcoin.
“In the long run, people may realize that Libra is not a cryptocurrency,” Bennett said at the FinTech Week event.
“A true cryptocurrency should be resistant to attacks by all parties, from sovereign states to global corporations,” he said, adding that “cryptocurrency is a type of money used to transfer value over the internet that cannot be stopped, confiscated or destroyed by any single entity”.
Meanwhile, Trump has unleashed a vicious attack on virtual currencies, slamming them for their alleged shadowy nature and arguing that Libra currency had no standing nor dependability, unlike the dollar.
“I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” Trump tweeted Thursday.