- Many countries around the world are looking to block the launch of the Libra cryptocurrency.
- TechCrunch’s critical article on the recent Libra summit inspired a statement to be released by the project.
The announcement of Facebook’s upcoming digital asset, Libra, has come with its fair amount of controversy and upset across the globe. Even while some countries are refusing to allow for its use at all, the Libra Association doesn’t appear to be the least bit bothered. In fact, in a post regarding the technical infrastructure, it states that Libra is “5 months and growing strong,” completely ignoring the backlash.
Libra recently launched its blockchain testnet, which has already performed 51,000 mock transactions through the last two months. There have already been 40 wallets, tools, and block explorers that are built on the blockchain testnet, as well as 1,700 GitHub commits. Coinbase, Uber, BisonTrails, Iliad, Xapo, Anchorage, and Facebook’s Calibra are presently running Libra nodes to process transactions. There are still six more nodes that the company aims to establish, and eight more to be set up by members.
Despite the update on the backend of Libra, there still seems to be a lack of plan to reach the goal of 100 members and nodes by next year, considering that there are presently only 21 members with nodes. After all, the launch is next year, and there’s still many regulators in the US and globally that won’t allow this to happen, which isn’t addressed at all.
Facebook is mostly focusing on fintech at the moment, since it isn’t dealing with any of the concerns about Libra. The platform launched Facebook Pay this week, allowing members of their Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram platforms to use a single payment method for paying merchants, friends, and charities. The new payment system could push for users to make more purchases on the platform, giving them a better idea of the transactions occurring on the platform while attracting merchants to spend more on their advertisements. Apart from financial inclusion, these goals are primarily what Facebook was trying to establish with their new cryptocurrency.
Many of the concerns from lawmakers stem from the way that Libra could potentially be a way for criminals to launder money, putting users’ assets at risk. It also puts a lot of power in the hands of Facebook, especially considering the ongoing antitrust investigations.
While the announcements from Libra could’ve been an opportunity to show how the project aims to deal with fraud and security issues, the Libra Association instead chose to talk code. Fixing policy was left off and almost completely ignored. Though TechCrunch submitted questions to the Libra Association for further clarification, a response was not provided before their article was published.
However, a later update of this article showed that a spokesperson from Libra responded to the criticism. The statement from the spokesperson explained that the Libra Core Summit was created as an effort to support members and educate them, regarding how to run a Libra node, build a Libra wallet, and more.
The spokesperson, Michael Engle, added,
“For those organizations without a technical team to implement a node, the Libra Association is working on a strategy to support deployment in 2020, when the Libra Core feature set is complete. The Libra Association intends to deploy 100 nodes on the mainnet, representing a mix of on-premises and cloud-hosted infrastructure.”