Powered by Blockchain, Libra is a new open source digital currency that aims to be the first truly global currency. In the age of the internet, we can transact with people across the world, but there’s a couple of barriers, the first which is language, but thanks to computer translation, that’s largely solved and the other is money.
If you’re not familiar with it, Blockchain is a technology that can safely store transaction records on a peer-to-peer network instead of storing them in a single location. Independent servers around the world, called nodes, make up the network that operates the blockchain. The most famous example of a cryptocurrency built on blockchain technology is Bitcoin. If Libra is successful in its mission to be a global currency, Bitcoin will feel like pocket change.
Internationally, the United Nations currently recognises 180 currencies used across 195 countries. Every time you want to trade goods and services to someone in another state or country, you are often hit with taxes and conversion fees. This could all be a thing of the past if Libra takes off.
While our financial institutions have been around for decades, they’re actually still really immature. It often takes days to execute a transaction, its often inconvenient to change from one format to another and give someone money often requires multiple pieces of information. Even today, an estimated 85% of transactions use cash. A staggering 31% of the global population (or 1.7Billion people) don’t have money in banks. These factors combined mean there’s serious room for improvement.
We are joining Libra in the hope of bringing the value of blockchains to billions of people across the world. In this day and age, we should be able to send money as quickly and securely across borders as we send photos and email. What’s more, the opensource nature of the project will allow developers around the world to build on top of it permissionlessly. We look forward to working with Libra to build a more decentralized and inclusive financial system.Katie Haun, General Partner, Andreessen Horowitz
Libra is a new cryptocurrency that aims to be fast, secure, scalable and mobile, meaning anyone with an entry-level smartphone and above can get involved.
As with all Crypto, the first step to launch is to release a whitepaper detailing how your currency works. You can read the full 12 page PDF here, but the most important point is that this is really a threat to banks, leaving behind financial legacies from the past, instead of recognising how we need currency to be transacted in the 21st century.
While many have seen the launch, promoted by Mark Zuckerberg as a Facebook cyrptocurrency, in reality, Libra is created and operated by the Libra Association. This consists of geographically distributed and diverse businesses, nonprofit and multilateral organizations, and academic institutions.
Coinbase is committed to its mission of creating an open financial system for the world. A key element of that vision is introducing crypto to a much broader audience. We’re pleased to be a Founding Member of the Libra Association because we believe this project has the potential to massively increase the awareness of crypto on a global scale.Emilie Choi, Chief Operating Officer, Coinbase, Inc.
The initial group of organizations that will work together on finalising the association’s charter and become “Founding Members” upon its completion. The list below includes some interesting names, like PayPal and Stripe, Mastercard and Visa that could have been superseded by Libra, but have instead decided to integrate instead, smart.
By industry, here’s the current list of Libra founding members.
- Payments: Mastercard, PayPal, PayU (Naspers’ fintech arm), Stripe, Visa
- Technology and marketplaces: Booking Holdings, eBay, Facebook/Calibra, Farfetch, Lyft, Mercado Pago, Spotify AB, Uber Technologies, Inc.
- Telecommunications: Iliad, Vodafone Group
- Blockchain: Anchorage, Bison Trails, Coinbase, Inc., Xapo Holdings Limited
- Venture Capital: Andreessen Horowitz, Breakthrough Initiatives, Ribbit Capital, Thrive Capital, Union Square Ventures
- Nonprofit and multilateral organizations, and academic institutions: Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking
All of this is built on decentralized blockchain technology. This means it’s not run by just one organisation, in theory, making the system fairer overall. Secured by cryptography, if implemented correctly, will also make it the safest currency to transact in while being accepted in the most places online.
So when can you start using Libra? The answer is, not for a while. Zuckerberg says there’s still a lot more to learn and do before Libra will be ready to officially launch.
Libra holds the potential to provide billions of people around the world with access to a more inclusive, more open financial ecosystem. We look forward to participating in the Libra network as a Founding Member, as well as through providing our community with access to Libra through Calibra. We know the journey is just beginning, but together we can achieve Libra’s mission to create a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that will empower billions of people.David Marcus, Head of Calibra, Facebook
Creating a global company is hard enough, but creating a global currency has never been done before, it’s a major undertaking. The association has been working with policymakers and experts in areas like financial inclusion, economics, security, privacy and blockchain, but the road ahead is a long one.
Announcing Libra publicly is the first step, ahead of nailing the technology, the security and the implementation to make it quick, easy and simple for users. Ensuring Governments don’t just outright ban something they don’t understand will also be a challenge across the world.
At PayPal, we believe in democratizing participation in the digital economy for people from all walks of life and businesses of all sizes. PayPal is pleased to join other leading technology and financial services organizations to form Libra, with the goal of exploring a new, global digital currency, built on blockchain technology.Dan Schulman, President and CEO, PayPal
You should follow Libra on their social channels below:
If you’re a developer or just a technical type, then you can dive into the Github site.