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Libra...or perhaps more like Cancer?


last year4 min read

So I just watched a LIVE broadcast from Al Jazeera about the new Libra Association and "cryptocurrency". I'm currently watching it for a second time.

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As Tanvi Ratna points out, Libra is neither a blockchain or a cryptocurrency. It's a ledger.

"I think users as a whole, compared to other blockchain systems, not compared to banks, they're probably worse in Libra coin than they are in other blockchains." - Tanvi Ratna

This isn't a product for us in the crypto community, it's a product for normal people. It's like these massive corporations looked at crypto and our selling points in regards to the "unbanked" and remittance, and decided that they could make money on that...but they didn't want the actual decentralized open structure of crypto. After all, despite crypto's advertisements as being fee-free and such, there actually are fees for transfers, and buying and selling. There is quite a bit of profit there. So, they can steal the advertising talking points from crypto, and use a bit of the technology, and make a fuckton from the massive number of people out there that are "unbanked" and who want to easily send money online.

It's a little weird to see companies like Paypal and Mastercard being part of this, because in some ways this might be replacing them. But, because this isn't real crypto, it's not really, it's another product from them. Mastercard can make a little bit by allowing you to buy these Libra coins to send money to your relatives, and Paypal can make a bit allowing you send to an even greater number of people than Paypal. Facebook likewise will have their own wallets on their network.

As Tanvi Ratna points out, this is like a blockchain of corporates.

I'm really glad that they brought in Tanvi Ratna into this discussion...though I was really kinda annoyed when the host interrupted to ask questions in regards to trust of Facebook, when Facebook is just one of the companies involved, many of which are untrusted btw. I really wish this talk was a lot longer.

I feel like I don't know nearly enough about Libra and this whole thing...but on the other hand...I don't really give a shit. Maybe these companies will use this to make it easier to send money worldwide...outside of crypto, but it's not crypto. That means that perhaps it might make it easier for crypto. Maybe they will lobby for laws that might make it easier for crypto in some ways. Or maybe it will actually make it harder, because this will make it easier for many that join crypto to just use some fake blockchain of the corporates.

I'm also not sure how much time we have. Maybe this means that we in the crypto space need to move faster and hit harder. Maybe it will take over a year for them to get their shit together. Maybe it will have something usable in less than a year. Maybe it will only half work for many years to come. Corporations often move very slow. That can be a good thing at times, as they don't bungle software updates as much, but they also don't improve things.

I don't believe for an instant that these corporations are doing this to help the poor and unbanked though. More likely helping themselves into their wallets.

Maybe that will help us though. Crypto onroads are fucking expensive. Maybe with a fakecoin to compete with, we'll see slightly lower profit margins when onboarding users. Maybe it will only cost a few cents to exchange crypto for cash. Maybe we'll have more people making better products.

Or maybe we're all fucked and this is the first sign of the oncoming apocalypse.


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