Ever since Facebook unveiled their plans to launch their own cryptocurrency in order to enable quick and safe money transfer between their customers (among other use cases), it has been met with various reactions and opinions. Facebook Libra has some lofty goals, and with billions of customers around the world, you could imagine Libra being a successful endeavour.
That being said, crypto enthusiasts generally didn’t like the fact that it would not be decentralised and pegged to a couple of fiat currencies, while the tech community at large is extremely divided, with some saying Facebook Libra will give one of the biggest companies in the world immensely more power and others supporting their aim to democratise money without having to work through banks and other expensive means of transferring money.
Now, notably, PayPal has decided to withdraw from the Libra Association. It is a 28-member organisation (including giants like VISA, Vodafone and Uber) that was formed earlier this year to oversee Facebook Libra’s creation as well as the eventual rollout to customers. Some say this was merely a ploy by Facebook in order to make them appear as a partner to the product, rather than running and managing it (again, giving them more power), but this remains to be seen.
At this point in time PayPal haven’t made clear why they are leaving the Libra Association, saying in a statement that they decided “to forgo further participation in the Libra Association at this time and to continue to focus on advancing our existing mission and business priorities as we strive to democratize access to financial services for underserved populations.” According to a report from The Financial Times, it is probably because of intense regulatory oversight.
Also among Facebook Libra’s critics at the same time as PayPal’s departure is Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, calling it a “power grab.” He said in a recent interview “no. I really think that a currency should stay in the hands of countries. I’m not comfortable with the idea of a private group setting up a competing currency. A private company shouldn’t be looking to gain power this way.”
Many other major corporations seem to share Cook’s sentiment that currency should not be controlled by corporations. Mark Cuban famously called Libra “dangerous” when it was launched and several European nations have vowed to block the currency’s rollout and use in its borders should it go ahead as planned in 2020.
What are your thoughts on Facebook Libra? Are these concerns valid? Let us know in the comments below.