By Corey Moss
If you’ve been hearing about a new form of cryptocurrency being introduced to the world – that would be social media giant Facebook, and their recently announced Libra.
Libra is the soon to come “digital currency“ introduced last week by the company, and they’re partnering with others such as Visa, Mastercard, Uber, PayPal and Spotify. The difference between Libra and Bitcoin is that Facebook’s will exist as a centralized, rather than decentralized blockchain network.
Unlike traditional cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, Facebook’s crypto will be a centralized, rather than decentralized blockchain network. That means verification is controlled by a select group rather than the public, and the crypto is pegged to a hard asset as a way to mitigate the volatile price swings that have been associated with digital assets, like bitcoin and Ethereum’s ether tokens ETHUSD, +0.76%
The Journal said that cryptocurrency, likely to be called Libra, won’t be controlled by Facebook but members of some of the early supporters could serve as digital verifiers of transactions and record-keepers, otherwise known as nodes in the parlance of cryptos.
Though Facebook’s Libra is being considered more of a “global coin,” it’s stated that it would actually be more of a PayPal or Cash App type exchange – in short, another digital wallet.
For example, it has been reported that Facebook is working with banks and other traditional financial institutions during the development of their coin offering, as it is expected to be a stablecoin. It has also been reported that Facebook hired two former members of Coinbase’s compliance team. This is a direct contrast with bitcoin, where the point is to not be compliant with laws and regulations.
Governments will never allow these sorts of centralized, controlled offerings to be used for illegal activity. Because of this reality, it should be obvious that stablecoins are effectively ticking time bombs in terms of when the regulatory hammer will come crashing down. And if the regulatory crackdown does not occur, then it likely means the stablecoin isn’t actually offering any efficiency gains over something like PayPal in the first place.
And that’s where a certain reveal takes place – as Libra in essence is not considered to be a cryptocurrency, as crypto like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin that exist on a decentralized blockchain network. It’s been known that Zuckerberg has wanted to create a global payment “PayPal-type” system for Facebook (in late 2018, Facebook subsidiary WhatsApp had been trialing WhatsApp payment in India, and debuted it in May of this year in the country).
In the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain – this to me appears to be another attempt by Facebook to create something that people will instantly be attracted to (with the usual Facebook marketing and push), as was the Facebook social media platform in the first place. Workplace by Facebook was certainly a shot at known team collaboration platforms, however it did differ in style and substance, in particular with the user-friendly Facebook interface outlay.
With all of this being said, it’s still hard to ignore incidents – as well as shots by Facebook that have missed in ways. In October 2018 I wrote Facebook: A Sobering Indicator for Potential Regulation of Social Media Companies Due to Security Inadequacies, and an Eye Taken Off the Ball which not only detailed the company’s major security breach and Congressional investigation, I also pointed to the project where Facebook animated photo-realistic avatars to mimic VR users’ faces to be used in various scenarios, including global collaboration. I watched a video when it was first “launched” and was totally amazed at just how bad a representation of near-human potential collaboration it was (although others may appear ready to be replaced by VR avatars). Zuckerberg had to even apologize for his own VR alter-ego mishap after virtually (and safely) visiting the hurricane destruction in Puerto Rico in 2017.
If this was Mark Zuckerberg’s own version of ‘the Singularity’ (AI/robots supplementing human behavior and even replacing humans), I wasn’t buying it – though others may have.
On June 7th, this appeared on Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) – a deepfake video created by machine learning engineers, of Mark Zuckerberg delivering a dark and ominous speech.
Just last month, Facebook refused to remove a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Would Facebook remove a deepfake of their own CEO?
Workplace by Facebook? I certainly endorse that for a cool way for teams to collaborate socially (I even have my own account that I’m trying out now). As for the crypto and digital wallet using crowd, I’d say stick to what you know, rather than the contradictory unknown from a social media platform corporation that’s had its own share of circumstances, and misses.
With over 20 years in audio visual integration and IT/computer sales and consulting, Corey Moss is the owner of Convergent AV Media. Corey writes for the publication and hosts/produces podcasts – The AV Life, Convergent Tech Talk, Convergent Week and The AV Tech Trade. He has written for numerous industry publications about AV, IT, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), cloud and software, IoT, cybersecurity and more. He has also conducted interviews with AV and IT executives and global influencers. Find him talking about a whole lot of things, tech and otherwise. On LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/mosscorey/.