Posted 2 years ago | by Ben Armstrong
Libra Association Highlights its Importance at CES
The Libra Association was founded by many large companies that are working to launch the Libra stable coin. Libra is a private cryptocurrency designed by Facebook, and it has been a hot topic for months.
The real issue is that Facebook would become the controlling entity over a private banking network, which makes a lot of people nervous.
Vice chairman of the Libra Association, Dante Disparte, gave a speech to fans and the technology's developers at the Digital Money Forum at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
"Bitcoin as an asset class has proven that mathematical scarcity can support an incredibly exciting asset...It's not a means of payment. It just isn't,” he added that, "The bottom rung of the ladder of economic mobility is payment access.”
This is of course nonsense, as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other tokens are used as a means of payment. Disparte may have been referencing the scaling issues that early decentralized blockchain networks face, but it is far more likely he was just shilling for the project he was at CES to promote.
Libra is Somehow the Answer...Says the Vice Chairman of the Libra Association...
Disparte told his audience that Libra is trying to solve a complex problem, which he used at least the following two questions to illustrate:
"How do you drive mass adoption?”
“How do you remove insidious levels of friction that basically make it cost-prohibitive to give people access to payments?"
These questions are not at all helpful, and in no way meaningfully connected to reality. Platforms like Visa seem to be able to cut though insidious levels of friction, as do the existing decentralized tokens.
Mass adoption is happening, which is why BTC is worth more than $7,000 USD, and the market is full of altcoins that are all working on niche projects.
It Appears that Facebook Wants to be a Central Bank
Not every new token project will be successful, but some will, and a few may eclipse Bitcoin. But Libra probably won't be on that list. People know it isn't really a token like Bitcoin, and is in fact, Libra is far more like a Central Bank Digital Currency, with Facebook at its core.
Akin Sawyerr, a strategy lead on the Decred project, commented, "I'm not convinced that a council of self-interested companies can do money better than a decentralized system...The only way to really get there is to empower the individuals to have some base-level sovereignty,” in a panel discussion at CES.
Sawyerr means that with sovereignty a person can control their money. In Bitcoin terms, no one can take away their Bitcoin as long as they controls their keys. This is sovereign money.
The Libra may have a smattering of blockchain technology applied to the system, but it is clear that Facebook isn't creating a decentralized token, it wants Libra to be a command economy with Zuckerberg et al. at the helm.
Lots of Doubt, Not Much Support
Sawyerr noted that a permissioned system would be in no way censorship-resistant because it would be run by dozens of large organizations, and pointed out that payments companies initially involved in the Libra Association, including PayPal, Visa, Mastercard and others have been already departed the project.
It is clear that Libra is being run by people who don't have a firm grasp on the reality of the crypto markets, and see issues where in fact, none exist. There may be a new crop of token that become popular over the next few years, including CBDCs. Libra is unlikely to be among them.