Facebook’s worst idea in ages, its Libra cryptocurrency, might see a limited release next year

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In ordinary circumstances we trust Facebook with our data about as much as we trust a fart during a bout of gastric flu but, as bad as that is, we’d trust the social media giant with our financial data even less. And yet Libra, its own cryptocurrency, is supposedly scheduled for a limited release in 2021 — which is much later than expected.

Libra’s horoscope

That’s according to the Financial Times, but Facebook’s ambitions have been cut back from its original scale. Is it the result of much of the world giving Facebook’s plans the finger upon announcement? We’d like to think so.

Libra was originally supposed to be a stablecoin — a cryptocurrency that derives its value from several real-world currencies rather than the intangible thing that is Bitcoin and its many variants. And it’ll still be that, but not as wide-ranging as Facebook originally hoped. The launch, planned for next year, will see a single stablecoin launch, based on the American dollar, likely alongside Facebook’s Libra wallet called Novi (formerly known as Calibra). Novi will allow Facebook users to manage their wallet balances using Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, transferring currency to others using the Novi app. Buying and selling, in other words.

The launch is set for the States and a few South American countries, at least initially. That’s probably to test the waters after the system was first announced. But, as with everything new that Facebook does these days, Libra has very little to do with its potential users. Facebook’s actually after your data, which it’ll gather through the Novi app — this time it’s your financial data on the block, in addition to your buying behaviour, and it’ll be charging you a percentage to let it collect that information. The company likely hopes to take on Amazon in the sales space, furthering the Zuckerbot’s aim of controlling the world’s information… because… he… can?

There are other tech companies in the Libra Association — among them Lyft, Shopify, Spotify and Uber — but it’s not clear at this point what involvement they’ll have with a Libra launch in 2021.

Source: Financial Times

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Brett writes for Stuff's digital platform and edits Stuff's print magazine, in between reading science fiction and every Batman comic he can get his hands on.

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