Do we really need a digital currency by Facebook?

Published: Sat 22 Jun 2019, 9:32 PM

Last updated: Sat 22 Jun 2019, 11:38 PM

Facebook is poised to release its brand-new cryptocurrency, Libra, next year. The news wasn't exactly welcomed with open arms by politicians. Like the stereotypical government usually wants with everything, Libra is coming under scrutiny with talks about regulating it. I am no expert in cryptocurrency, but from what can be seen, Libra is a good cryptocurrency. It is backed by real-world assets, meant to keep a stable value, and has a face through the Libra Association, all of which are features that a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin tends to lack. But it isn't the currency itself that is being put under scrutiny, it's the entity behind it.
I'll be honest, I don't like it when governments interfere and regulate the things I use or do. But with Libra, it is a step in the right direction. Because if Libra succeeds, Facebook succeeds. And that is the problem. Facebook could have two basic aims - to get more people using their services and obtain more user data. Therein lies the biggest threat. Facebook has been promoting the currency just as any other usual product as something that we need, something that will change our lives for good, empowering us while offering convenience and efficiency.
Facebook arrives once again as our saviours. Just like Facebook (the platform) gave us greater freedom of speech, Libra is coming to "truly empower" us as consumers. But it is about time everyone learned a very important lesson. Nothing is free. There's a price for everything. Facebook has decided to share the control of Libra with other entities. They also emphasise the fact that Facebook only has a single vote on Libra. It appears that Facebook genuinely wants to give the world something that doesn't empower them and for once there is no hidden price.
But Facebook doesn't need control on Libra. After all, there are players on the field who know how to handle currencies better than them. What Facebook does have control over is what really matters to them, transactions. The digital wallet for Libra, Calibra, is a subsidiary of Facebook. It is safe to assume that Calibra will become the most used wallet for Libra transactions, provided no other competitor is allowed to rise. They say that the users' crypto dealings will never be tied to their Facebook data. Again, it seems everything is fine and yet it isn't. But it is hard to trust Facebook.
-Winston Smith

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