Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency will launch in the first half of 2020

Ruben Fields
June 18, 2019

Named Libra, the cryptocurrency will enable Facebook's 2.4 billion users to make global transactions and is expected to go live in early 2020.

As stated previously, Facebook has collaborated with various financial institutions as co-founders for its crypto project, such as MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, Stripe, eBay, Spotify, Uber, Lyft, Vodafone Group, Andreessen Horowitz, Facebook, and more.

Facebook's founder - Mark Zuckerberg - has remained tight-lipped about the project, which will deliver a powerful new revenue stream to the embattled company which is now facing a potential federal antitrust investigation as well as probes into its data privacy policies.

David Marcus, who is heading Facebook's cryptocurrency operation, tweeted on Tuesday that Libra is in part aimed at "the 1.7 billion people who are still unbanked 30 years after the invention of the web".

Libra will be different, Facebook says, in part because its value will be pegged to a basket of established currencies such as the USA dollar, the euro, the yen and others. Two years ago, for instance, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised that "augmented reality", in which phones and other devices project digital images into real-world surroundings, would be a major focus for the company. They are technically separate from Facebook proper, but that distinction will probably only be noticed by financial regulators. "It should be a public good".

Libra will have its own wallet app called Calibra, which will be built into Messenger, Instagram, and Whatsapp. Calibra's website says it's "a connected wallet for a connected world", while Libra's site claims it'll "reinvent money" and "transform the global economy" so "people everywhere can live better lives".

The lines between Facebook and Calibra will be blurred from the start.

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"Aside from limited cases, Calibra will not share account information or financial data with Facebook or any third party without customer consent".

Facebook is handling the initial buildout of Libra. The aim is for Libra to eventually be used to buy anything.

Many privacy questions remain unanswered, though. Libra is a stablecoin created to tame the volatility of cryptocurrencies and thus be useful for day-to-day commerce.

Technically, the Libra network will be a permissioned, blockchain-like network.

Those partners - and given that lineup, it will gain even more rather quickly if it works as Facebook says - you will be able to use Libra to transparently pay services and products anywhere.

The social network will launch the cryptocurrency in 2020, complete with a wallet developed by Facebook's new Calibra subsidiary.

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