The effort, which Facebook is launching with partners including PayPal, Uber, Spotify, Visa and Mastercard, would allow Facebook users to buy and store their digital dollars in a Facebook-branded digital wallet called Calibra.
But Facebook's ultimate goal goes far beyond: allow the 1.7 billion unbanked people across the globe to manage their finances properly for the first time. Facebook is now under federal investigation over its privacy practices, and along with other technology giants also faces a new antitrust probe in Congress.
Facebook announced its plans on Tuesday after secretly working on the cryptocurrency for more than a year. "However, the technology has to be stable, resilient and scalable, and we felt that the Libra Association and its partners, including Farfetch, will be able to deliver this", said Stephanie Phair, Farfetch chief strategy officer. Here's how it works: Libra will be a stablecoin, meaning that, unlike Bitcoin, it's backed by hard currencies like the dollar and yen. Under this structure, Calibra's financial data will be separate from Facebook's social data or so we're told. Ryan added that this Libra project is also destined for failure due to Facebook's lack of payments experience, but overall, it will help bring attention to the cryptocurrency payments industry.
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Calibra would conduct compliance checks on customers who want to use Libra, using verification and anti-fraud processes that were common among banks, Facebook said.
Last year, Facebook's data policies came into question when Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics company, harvested the private data of millions of Facebook users and manipulated for the objective of political profiling. Calibra will be available through Facebook's messenger platform and WhatsApp, and will have a standalone app as well. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, Facebook emphasized, Libra is backed by "a reserve of real assets", with an equivalent amount of real currencies and assets held in reserve for every Libra that is created. Now, Waters is asserting executives should testify before the committee. "Early bitcoin and crypto people are viewed as anarchists - many are anti government anti establishment with anti bank rhetoric - that's why the big financial institutions have been wary of investing and supporting cryptocurrency", said Bitcoin Association Founding President Jimmy Nguyen. From the start, Facebook insisted on how secure Libra would be, and on the fact that a subsidiary called Calibra will be in charge of Libra, and that a Libra Association would oversee the Libra blockchain.
On Tuesday, a Facebook representative said the company looked forward to answering lawmaker questions. Instead, it is exchanged digitally between buyers and sellers using secret codes for security. The digital wallet will let users send and receive Libra for a low or no cost. And for now Calibra's just building a wallet to handle those transactions.
Facebook's whitepaper claims that it will not source transaction data from the Libra Blockchain without consumer consent.